Tobacco giant sues over plain pack laws
A distributor of a number of well-known tobacco brands says the Government cannot unilaterally introduce plain packaging on its products as a member of the EU.
JTI Ireland Ltd says this would be contrary to EU harmonisation objectives and an obstacle to trade between member states. It also claims the new rules, due to come in next month, will distort and impair the dynamics of competition in the tobacco market and lead to a fall in average prices for tobacco products.
JTI is seeking High Court orders preventing the Minister for Health, Ireland and the Attorney General from commencing the provisions of the recently passed Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act 2015.
The law means all tobacco products must come in standard plain paper packaging.
JTI supplies 3,100 retailers with brands including Benson and Hedges, Silk Cut and Camel
It is part of an international tobacco group with operations in 70 countries and employs 90 people directly here. It says it paid €666.8m in tax here in 2013.
Paul Sreenan SC, for JTI, yesterday asked Mr Justice Brian McGovern to adjourn for two weeks an application to admit the case to the fast-track Commercial Court division. The judge, who was told it was on consent and without prejudice to the application to admit the case, agreed to the adjournment.