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Publican labels smoking ban conviction 'ridiculous'

A PUBLICAN fined for violating the smoking ban has angrily described his conviction as 'ridiculous.'

Don O'Leary, of the Mills Inn, Ballyvourney, was fined €1,000 at Macroom District Court last week for violations of the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002 and was also instructed to pay €1,500 towards the HSE's costs of bringing the case to court.

"I thought it was ridiculous that I was brought to court. I hate smoking, I am completely anti-smoking.

"When they brought the ban in I was the only publican at a meeting on the Commons Road to stand up and say it would be good for business - and I was nearly ran out of it," he told The Corkman.

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Mr O'Leary said that he had no problem with the HSE, and that his workplace and kitchen are 'spic and span.' He added that he was under the impression that the health body was happy with his smoking area, but concedes that his smoking area has more than half of its perimeter covered, which is against the act.

"I have a smoking area, only smokers go in there. I would say there's 35 per cent of it open, not the 50 per cent required, but if half of it was open my customers would be frozen by the south west wind that comes in there."

He said that the fine, while significant, will not cost any jobs and that he will ' bit the bullet' and pay it.

"We are trying to pay wages, rates, the bank and the taxman. It is ridiculous.

"Ireland won't get up off its knees with this shit going on - and you can quote me on that," he concluded.