John Player has threatened the Irish government with legal action over plans to introduce standardized tobacco packaging, according to a story in the Independent.
The paper said the company had warned the Minister for Health, Dr. Leo Varadkar, and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly, that they would be hauled before the courts if the proposals were passed into law.
A letter from solicitors McCann Fitzgerald said the legislation would ‘unlawfully impair’ its client’s intellectual property rights.
But Reilly, referring to the letter and a separate threat by another tobacco company, JTI Ireland, said the government would not be ‘intimidated’.
Meanwhile, according to a story in The Irish Examiner, 10 leading health campaign groups representing doctors and people suffering from cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening conditions have written to ministers urging them not to scrap the standardized packaging plans.
The letter, seen by the Examiner, insists Reilly is right to be pushing through the policy, insisting the measure is ‘absolutely justified and necessary’.
The two-page letter was said to have been sent in response to claims from business groups that the initiative would cost jobs and stall the economy.
It is signed by senior officials from the Irish Cancer Society, Irish Heart Foundation, Ash Ireland, the Children’s Rights Alliance, Barnardos, the Asthma Society of Ireland, the ISPCC, COPD Support Ireland, the Irish Thoracic Society and the Irish College of Ophthalmologists.