County wide anti-smoking policy on the way

The members of the Cultural, Education, Heritage and Corporate Affairs SPC of Mayo County Council put in motion the first steps to bringing in a new council backed county wide anti-smoking policy. Director of services for Mayo County Council, Joe Loftus, told the members he was looking for them to recommend to Mayo County Council that all buildings over which the council have control, including playgrounds and play areas for children, be declared smoke free zones, to be supported by appropriate signage and notices.

There was full support from the members for the policy, but there were calls for it to go further. Cllr Peter Flynn told the meeting that the council should look into implementing bye-laws so that these regulations could be enforced properly. Cllr Flynn also called for the council to look into implementing bye-laws to outlaw drinking on property owned or controlled by the council also, so that it could clamp down on the outdoor drinking parties that occur in open spaces and parks.”

There was support for Cllr Flynn’s ideas from the other members, but it was decided to concentrate on the smoking issue first as it was what was on the agenda. Cllr Al McDonnell commented that, “people’s attitudes towards smoking has changed dramatically in recent years. You only have to look back to before the 2004 local elections and the abuse that some of us took, when the smoking ban was brought in first. But now, it’s been a huge success.”

He also asked that the wording of any bye-laws ensured that it did not ban people smoking in their home if they were living in a council house, because it could arise if the wording of any bye-laws covered all council controlled property as it would also cover council houses.

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