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Reilly snub for tobacco bid to stall plain packs

CHILDREN'S Minister James Reilly has snubbed a demand by one of the world's most powerful tobacco firms that the Government must stall plans to introduce plain packaging.

Dr Reilly (below) was served with a legal threat by Japan Tobacco Ireland (JTI) which said it would haul the Government before the High Court unless a decision was taken to stall the proposals by the close of business yesterday.

Government sources confirmed that Dr Reilly has ignored the threat from the tobacco firm, which owns brands including Benson & Hedges.

The company said it had no comment to make yesterday as it considers whether to follow through on its threat of legal action against Dr Reilly and Health Minister Leo Varadkar.

It is understood the Government has already devised a detailed legal strategy, through the office of the Attorney General, which is aimed at fending off any court challenges. The strategy has been sent to the European Commission.