An open letter to the Minister for Health.
Dear Minister for Health,
Before I start, I would like to apologise for the somewhat misleading title I have accorded you, but that apparently is how you are addressed.
I watched with interest your appearance on RTE’s Prime Time last night where you enlightened us with your vision of a smoke free Ireland.
There were a few points that left me a little confused however and maybe you would like to take this opportunity to clarify a few of them?
The purpose of the programme was to discuss the banning of smoking in all public parks, beaches and sports events. I would have thought that such a drastic piece of legislation would have to have fairly sound reasoning behind it and here lies my first question.
You see, you mentioned several reasons. The first was your personal distaste of the Evil Tobacco Companies. But then one of your cohorts started on about health and how there is no safe level of secondary smoke, even presumably if you are standing alone in the middle of The Fifteen Acres up in the Phoenix Park? And then we switched track again, and it became a law to denormalise smokers. Just when I was getting used to that idea, I suddenly realise that the exercise to to protect children. Could you please tell be which it is?
With all due respect and I hate to criticise a personal failing but I found your presentation a little meandering. At one stage we even ended up with you telling us about one of your little jaunts to New York and how they have draconian bans there. I wouldn’t know about that first hand [not having a government expense account] but I have heard that the New York experience is extreme to say the very least. Or are we back in the business of trying to outdo every other country? I find the logic of doing something just because someone else is doing it a little discomforting.
Could you please tell me what the situation is regarding the consultation process? You say there is to be a consultation on the smoking in cars, yet you say the law is being passed through its stages as we speak? Similarly this new proposal is going through the consultative phase yet you state quite categorically that you will be introducing a bill. So I take it then that the consultation process is redundant?
You did say quite clearly that you abhor the idea that this proposed ban is an act of a Nanny State. You dismissed the Nanny State concept by explaining that Nanny State laws are aimed at adults, and that this law is not about adults. So I take it from that that the new law will only apply to children? So no child will be able to smoke while driving or while on the beach or in a public park? I’m glad we cleared that one up.
To be honest, I found your whole presentation to be rather rambling and confused compared to your opponent in the debate, John Mallon of Forest Eireann
Finally, Minister I have a very simple question for you.
You professed to having a profound concern for the welfare of all Irish Citizens. You obviously want to do everything in your power to prevent cancer?
Could you then tell me why a drug which is a proven cancer cure is not allowed by your department to enter the Irish market? Could you please tell me why a couple are having to put their house and home on the market in order to avail of this drug which is available in other countries?
You, Sir [and I say this in all sincerity, and in a caring, constructive manner] are a steaming fucking hypocrite.
No smoking here.
[for the sake of the children, of course]