Law Society and 'plain packaging'

17/02/2014

The Society is concerned at the coverage in certain newspapers of the Society's contribution to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children's (the Health Committee) consultation on 'plain packaging' for tobacco products.

The Society is concerned at the coverage in certain newspapers of the Society's contribution to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children's (the Health Committee) consultation on 'plain packaging' for tobacco products.

By no means has all of the newspaper coverage accurately reported the Society's position. In particular, some coverage has falsely suggested that the Society's contribution on this matter has been influenced by, or indeed even supportive of, the tobacco industry. This is completely untrue.

The President of the Law Society, John P Shaw, and the Director General, Ken Murphy, represented the Society on 13th February, 2014, at a meeting of the Health Committee. See the text of the President's opening remarks.

These remarks were made prior to both the President and the Director General answering the questions of the various TDs and Senators for, in total, about 30 minutes.  

For emphasis, the Society's representatives:-

  1. Made perfectly clear to the Committee that the Society was not representing anyone but its solicitor members and the public interest which the profession serves;
  2. Were only highlighting intellectual property law issues to which the plain packaging proposal gave effect;
  3. Were not claiming any expertise on health policy matters other than to recognise that "tobacco has had a disastrous impact on health";  
  4. Agreed with the objective of the Bill and said as much;
  5. Were well received by the Committee and thanked for the Society's contribution.

Ken Murphy gave an interview to George Hook on Newstalk 106 last Thursday afternoon in which he further explained the Society's position on this issue - see a transcript of the interview here