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Friday 29 August 2014

Johnnie Fox's owner recalls day new law sparked a 'diplomatic incident'

Alyson Henry

Published 25/03/2014 | 02:30

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Tony McMahon, owner of Johnnie Fox's Pub, which had a smoking bus outside the pub when the smoking ban came in ten years ago. Picture: Damien Eagers
Tony McMahon, owner of Johnnie Fox's Pub, which had a smoking bus outside the pub when the smoking ban came in ten years ago. Picture: Damien Eagers
Mervyn McCullagh pictured  in 2004 in front of the Happy Smoking Bus at  Johnnie Fox's pub
Mervyn McCullagh pictured in 2004 in front of the Happy Smoking Bus at Johnnie Fox's pub

It claims to be the highest pub in Dublin and temperatures sky-rocketed at Johnnie Fox's Pub in the Dublin Mountains during one diplomatic incident in the weeks following the smoking ban.

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On the 10th-year anniversary of the no-smoking policy that was implemented in public buildings, workplaces and public transport across Ireland, publican Tony Mc- Mahon recalls an incident with a European diplomat in the early stages of the ban.

"I remember several customers saying they'd ignore the ban when it came into action. There was a few hard necks who scoffed at the idea and thought it would never catch on", Mr McMahon told the Irish Independent.

"The most difficult customer I remember was a foreign diplomat.

"He was caught smoking inside and had to be asked several times to stop . . . this would have been about six months after the ban started. He claimed he had diplomatic immunity.

"I told him diplomatic immunity or not, there was no smoking inside the pub. He soon put out his cigarette," he said.

Mr McMahon has owned the Dublin pub for 25 years and says the introduction of the smoking ban never affected trade.

"It's been great for us," he said. "The smokers got used to things pretty quickly, and life was easier for everyone else. Before the ban you'd leave a pub or a restaurant with the smell of smoke on your clothes."

He speculated that customers adapted so well to the changes because of the novelty of a 'smoking bus' which was put outside the pub so customers could puff away without being exposed to the elements.

Mr McMahon says the smoking bus was great for business, as it attracted a lot of media attention, with news agencies as far away as CNN including the smoking bus in its coverage of Ireland's ban on smoking.

Irish Independent

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