Fine Gael links to tobacco industry “unsettling in the extreme” says Prendergast

Labour MEP for Ireland South, Phil Prendergast, a former nurse and midwife, today expressed her discomfort at yet more revelations of Fine Gael links to the tobacco lobby. 


Speaking about the issue, Ms. Prendergast said “I find the idea of former staff members of a political party engaging so actively with an industry intent on securing profits, at the expense of our young people’s health, unsettling in the extreme. It shows that the revolving door between politics and lobbying must be stopped once and for all.


“These revelations come after the news that the Taoiseach, Minister for Finance and Minister for Justice held meetings with senior executives from the tobacco industry, behind closed doors, and are an affront to the principles of transparency and open government.


“To contravene the World Health Organisation’s convention that all meeting between politicians and tobacco lobbyists take place only in public shows an astounding lack of judgement on the part of the Taoiseach.


“‘The Government’s first responsibility has to be to the health of citizens and young people rather than the profits of Phillip Morris and other multinational manufacturers who are spending hundreds of millions of euro lobbying governments all over the world.


“This revelation shows just how closely Fine Gael cleave to the big tobacco industry both in Irelandand Europe- where their party- the EPP- last week voted to delay the Tobacco Directive proposals.


“My colleagues and I within the Socialists and Democrats Party in the Parliament feel like our constituents have been let down by MEPs from the European Peoples Party, of which Fine Gael are members, and the ALDE Party, of which Fianna Fail are members.


“As a former healthcare professional I know all too well the damage that cigarettes can do. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Labour Party in Europe to protect Ireland’s youth, I hope Fine Gael and Fianna Fail will reconsider where their allegiances should lie, with their constituents or with the tobacco industry.”

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