Irish Republican News · July 7, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Galway pub rebels against smoking ban

A Galway publican has decided to challenge the new workplace smoking ban by allowing customers to light up in designated areas.

The owners of Fibber Magees says the premises will be out of business by September if he doesn’t take action against the legislation, which indirectly forbids smoking in pubs or restaurants in the 26 Counties.

His business has fallen dramatically since the ban came into force in March, he says,

“My business is down 63 per cent from April to June on the same period last year,” Mr Levanzin told The Irish Times. “We did a survey here of our own customers, and 58 per cent of those polled stated that they were smokers, while 82 per cent of those polled said that they had no problem drinking in a smoking environment.”

Co-owner Ciaran Levanzin said he took the decision to challenge the ban on Monday night of this week.

“There were only three or four customers in the place. I went out for a walk round the square, thought about it and came back and put the ashtrays out. I told those customers who were still there that they could light up.

“I got applause, and next thing text messages were flying and the place started filling up,” he said. By closing time, he had about 70 customers on the premises.

Other pub owners have said they are considering taking similar action amid reports that some pubs were quietly flouting the ban in response to poor sales.

* Meanwhile, the Six Counties has moved a step closer to prohibiting smoking in public places.

A smoking ban was introduced in all British government offices in the North of Ireland yesterday.

Presure has grown for an all-Ireland workplace smoking ban following the apparent success of the ban in the South.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News