MANDATE rejects smoking ban job claims


Trade union MANDATE has dismissed claims that a ban on smoking would result in substantial job losses in the hospitality sector.

The union represents thousands of workers in the industry.

Its Cork Divisional Organiser, Mr Matty O'Callaghan, said the claim by the Irish Hospitality Industry Alliance (IHIA) that major job losses will follow the ban was a scare tactic and not backed up by international research on the economic effects of smoking bans.

He said that the "so-called compromises" on the issue proposed by different sectors within the hospitality industry were a recipe for continued exposure for workers to the effects of passive smoking.

Mr O'Callaghan rejected calls for reserving separate spaces for smokers saying it would still leave workers vulnerable to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and could lead to job losses for staff in smaller pubs and restaurants.

He said suggestions in relation to using ventilation systems were also wide of the mark. "As the recent Health and Safety Authority and Office of Tobacco Control report makes clear, even the most advanced forms of ventilation still leave an estimated ETS risk of 1,500 to 2,500 times the acceptable risk level for regulated hazardous air pollutants".

The IHIA held the first of a series of public meetings for the hospitality sector on the issue in Cork today.

Spokesman Mr Finbar Murphy said the implications of the smoking ban in its current form was potentially devastating for the industry and accused the Government of double standards it its dealings with small and large business interests.

He said the Government had confirmed it is lobbying Brussels to dilute proposed environmental laws relating to the manufacture or importing of chemicals because of what he claimed were concerns over job implications for multinational companies in Ireland.

Mr Murphy said the IHIA was asking the Government to treat smaller indigenous businesses with the same level of priority.

As part of the IHIA's Campaign for Compromise, people with interests in the hospitality sector are being asked to write to local TDs, senators and councillors about their concerns over the ban and to encourage customers to voice their concerns with their local politicians.