A leading cancer charity has said it will no longer accept any corporate donations from Arthur Cox, the legal firm acting for tobacco giant Japan Tobacco in threatened court action against the State to block plain cigarette packs.
The Irish Cancer Society said it had received €20,000 in both 2013 and 2014 from Arthur Cox, one of Ireland’s most powerful business law firms and a legal adviser to the Health Service Executive.
“Because Arthur Cox are now leading a legal action, which has the clear aim of preventing the enactment of legislation which we consider crucial to the prevention of cancer, we will therefore now decline any offer of a corporate donation from Arthur Cox,” said the Irish Cancer Society’s spokeswoman. There was no immediate comment from the law firm.
The firm is listed among 490 “principal corporate partners” in the Irish Cancer Society’s review for 2013, the latest available. The 2013 partners included solicitors A&L Goodbody, which worked on legal challenges against Irish and EU legislation to ban tobacco advertising, and solicitors Matheson, whose clients include tobacco giant Philip Morris.
Following the industry campaign against plain packs, the charity is now reviewing its partnerships. “In light of the highly aggressive moves by ‘Big Tobacco’ to attempt to block this key initiative to prevent cancer, the Irish Cancer Society is conducting a review of our corporate partnerships to ensure that our partnerships are fully aligned with our values and mission.”
Japan Tobacco’s Irish unit, JTI Ireland, threatened immediate court action if the Government did not scrap plain packaging legislation by last Friday.
While the Government said the Dáil passage of the legislation will continue, JTI would not say whether its threatened action will proceed. “We have no further comment to make on this,” said JTI’s spoklesman.