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Renewed calls to for smoking free beaches in Clare

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“There is an opportunity” for a non smoking policy to be implemented on Clare’s beaches.

Clare County Council cannot enact bye-laws which would designate beach areas as non-smoking as that purpose is already provided for by other legislation, Director of Service Carmel Kirby outlined at the November meeting of the local authority.

Her comments came in response to a motion from Cllr Ann Norton (IND) who sought a review of the beach bye-laws to designate the areas as non-smoking “in the interests of promoting a healthy environment for our children and adults alike”.

In a written reply, Ms Kirby flagged that “The relevant enactments regarding smoking (tobacco) are the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002 and subsequent Regulations mainly Statutory Instrument No. 481/2003 – Tobacco Smoking (Prohibition) Regulations 2003 which gave effect to banning smoking in aircraft, vehicles, a place of work, licenced premises etc. There is also an option (currently not enacted) under Section 47(1)(g) of the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002 for the Minister to enact regulations which may prohibit or restrict the smoking of tobacco products in all or part of any other premises or place.

“Therefore it is not appropriate in accordance with the Local Government Act 2001 for Clare County Council to enact bye laws which would designate beach areas as non-smoking as that purpose is already provided for by other legislation”.

While holidaying in the North of Spain this summer, Cllr Norton noticed a non-smoking beach. “I am now aware that Clare County Council aren’t in a position to legislate but there is an opportunity for Clare County Council to put in policy about having a smoke free beach. We are all very conscious of how dangerous smoking is. Young families with young children love to go to the beach”.

“We’re all in favour of no smoking bans everywhere,” Cllr Michael Begley (IND) commented as he seconded the motion. “I’m amazed to hear of Ann’s description in Spain, they should extend the same restrictions to their bars and restaurants,” he quipped.

Last February, now retired councillor Tom McNamara had proposed a smoking ban on public facilities owned or operated by the County Council. “At a strategic level, the Rural Development Directorate will shortly begin the process of preparing a “Healthy Clare Strategy” and the consultation process could consider this proposal and any emerging policy for inclusion in the Strategy,” Director of Service, Leonard Cleary said in response.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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