Finlay rebuts tobacco story

 

The former Labour Party adviser, Mr Fergus Finlay, yesterday rebutted a report that he is to lobby for three tobacco companies.

Mr Finlay said a report in a Sunday newspaper that he would be lobbying for P.J. Carroll, Players and Gallaher were completely wrong.

He said the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers' Advisory Committee (ITMAC), a trade association, had become a client of his in his capacity as head of public affairs at Wilson Hartnell Public Relations. He was not a media adviser to the committee.

"I am responsible for the account and am not a lobbyist on the part of the tobacco industry. I will advise my client in respect of relations with the Department of Health and the Revenue Commissioners," he said yesterday.

"I am a private citizen. I am not paid out of public funds so I don't understand why there is an interest in it."

The reports referred to two previous Labour Party general secretaries, Mr Flor O`Mahoney, who it stated was media adviser to the ITMAC; and Mr Brendan Halligan, who it claimed was involved with a European tobacco lobby group.

Asked whether this was coincidence, Mr Finlay replied: "It has nothing to do with me. I don't know whether it's coincidence or not."