Senator Jillian van Turnhout (pictured) has accused legitimate tobacco firms of 'fuelling the illicit market', at the latest Joint Oireachtas Committee hearing on the proposed plain packaging legislation.
The latest hearing, which took place last Thursday, welcomed retail representatives including the CSNA's Vincent Jennings, Joe Sweeney of NFRN Ireland, Tara Buckley of RGDATA, Paul Candon of Topaz/Retail Excellence Ireland, Sharon Higgins of IBEC and packaging consultant Mike Ridgeway.
On the question of the illicit trade, Senator Van Turnhout said: "When we throw around the word 'illicit', I strongly believe that the tobacco companies are fuelling that market."
Also at the hearing, the CSNA's Vincent Jennings revealed that the government's National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF) has €21 million worth of equities and bonds in leading international tobacco firms.
Addressing the Committee, Jennings said that it was "extraordinary" that the government has such a sizeable investment in tobacco companies via the NPRF, and suggested to the Committee that they "earnestly request the redirection of this €21 million to tobacco control measures."
This Thursday, representatives from the tobacco industry, including PJ Carroll, John Player, JTI Ireland and Forest Éireann, as well as the Law Society of Ireland and A & L Goodbody are set to attend a further Committee hearing on the subject.
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones