Thursday 14 December 2017

Reilly: Inappropriate for legal firm to represent tobacco firms and state agencies

James Reilly
James Reilly

Political Correspondent

CHILDREN’S Minister James Reilly has said it is not appropriate for legal firm Arthur Cox to represent tobacco firms and State agencies under the aegis of his Department.

Mr Reilly is currently reviewing the relationship between the State’s child and family agency Tulsa and the solicitor firm representing Japan Tobacco, which is threatening legal action against the Government if it introduces plain package cigarettes.

The Children’s Minister said he has a “problem” with Arthur Cox continuing to provide legal advise to the State agency if it is representing tobacco firms which he said put the lives of children at risk.

“I am very concerned about a perceived or real conflict of interest here of legal firms representing both sides in a hugely high stakes situation like this,” Minister Reilly said.

"We are fighting for the future of our children and the health of our nation against the determination of Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International to increase their profits at the cost of people’s health in this country.”

The minister added: "I fail to see how we send the right message by employing legal firms that are prepared to represent the tobacco industry, whose history in this area is quite appalling to be quite frank. Their inability to come out and tell the truth time after time has been quite shocking frankly and we are going to stand firm against them.”

Minister Reilly called on all legal firms to come out and say they would not represent tobacco firms.

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