Arthur Cox is a leading legal firm here in Ireland.
By my understanding, a legal firm deals with the law. It doesn't matter a damn what the firm believes is right and wrong, as it's function is solely to interpret the law in any situation and to present a case based on that interpretation. Because they may represent a murderer in court does not mean they are murderers themselves, that they practice murder in private or even that they condone murder. They simply deal with the law in the best interests of their client.
Apparently the HSE doesn't realise this. You see Arthur Cox provides legal advise to the HSE but it also represents JTI Ireland which is the tobacco company threatening to sue the gubmint. The HSE is therefore hauling Arthur Cox over the coals for being in bed with Big Tobacco.
One of the more puerile arguments put forward by the Tobacco Control Industry is that anyone who has any dealing whatsoever with Big Tobacco is therefore inherently evil. Big Tobacco is seen as the Devil incarnate and therefore anyone who has the remotest connections with them must de facto be evil also. Presumably by this argument we must at all costs avoid any grocery shop and every supermarket chain as they all sell cigarettes and are therefore shills of Big Tobacco?
What we are witnessing here is the true passionate and completely irrational hatred for the tobacco industry. In practice the tobacco industry and the pharmaceutical industry are almost identical – both are in business to sell products for which there is a demand [and which have physiological and psychological effects on the body] and to return a profit. Their sole motive is profit and provided they make a profit, the use of their product is of no concern to them. It could be argued that Pig Pharma probably causes far more damage with their products, taking into account wrong doses, side effects, unknown long term effects and overdoses but propaganda has made them the Good Guys and Big Tobacco the Bad Guys.
Big Tobacco is singled out and has its produce taxed at exorbitant rates which it accepts without a murmur yet Big Pharma charges €85,000 a year for a life saving cancer drug and nobody questions the fact they they are placing massive profits before lives?
We only have to witness the outburst from Crown yesterday where he demands a 99% tax on tobacco profits and cigarettes taxed at a rate of €1,000 for twenty to see the level of pathological and irrational hatred the man has for the industry. The man is clearly insane yet he is one of the main drivers of the Irish Anti Smoker movement. Equally, Reilly is forging ahead with his plans despite warnings and objections from US Industries, ten EU countries, our own police and customs, the retailers and the complete lack of any proof whatsoever that his plans will have any effect.
I see today that Benson & Hedges increased its profits by €100 million in the UK just by changing the design on one of its packs. I would love to know if they changed the design here in Ireland and what effect it may have had on sales, seeing as all branding is effectively removed by hiding cigarettes from view. It illustrates two things though.
It illustrate3 the huge importance of branding where changing a design can lead to an increase in sales, which is precisely why the industry is objecting to standard packaging. This wasn't a sudden influx of new smokers but rather existing smokers switching brands, which is the whole aim of branding.
It also illustrates the scale of compensation Ireland can be expected to face if this insanity forges ahead.