His colleagues are fuming, but Finian's not giving up the fags
Finian McGrath found himself dodging around corners in Leinster House for the past couple of days, as what he irreverently describes as the "tut-tutters" were baying for his blood in the aftermath of his fiery defence of those who consume the evil weed.
During the debate on the Bill to sell ciggies in plain packaging, the Independent TD declared himself to be "a person who is addicted to cigarettes," before putting forward a case that smoking is good for the health of the economy. "It seems always to be smokers who get hammered, notwithstanding the €1.2bn in taxes we contribute to the Exchequer each year. That is a lot of money and it helps to run a lot of services."
And Finian wanted the do-gooders to butt out. "Unfortunately, decisions in these matters are being made by the nanny state brigade, with the rest of us expected to toe the line. The superior attitude displayed by some of these people gets up my nose, with their constant lecturing and talking down to people who happen to have an addiction that is harming nobody but themselves."
Alas for the great champion of the smoking classes, he got it in the neck from some of his compadres in the Technical Group. "They weren't happy," he admitted. "They never know what I'm going to say."
Such is the Silk Cut and thrust of Irish politics.