Irish parks and beaches smoking ban plan condemned

image captionThe Irish government plans to ban smoking in parks and on beaches

A plan by the Irish government to ban smoking in parks and on beaches has been condemned by a pro-smoking lobby group.

Forest Eireann claimed it was dangerous and would further marginalise smokers.

Spokesman John Mallon told RTE radio's Morning Ireland that smoking was still legal.

He questioned Health Minister James Reilly's claim that the ban would "de-normalise" smoking for children.

"It's based on preferences and tastes, and that's quite dangerous in the area of legislation," he said.

"What do you restrict next? Is the sight of a fat person sending a signal to a young child that it's okay to be overweight?

"In this case, it's a departure. It's not a case that it's bad or a danger. It just looks bad. That's very cosmetic at one level, and one wonders what else looks bad and whose tastes are we following in this."

Smoking was banned in the workplace in the Republic of Ireland in March 2004.

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