Nine Irish MEPs today called on President Barroso not to delay any longer important new EU tobacco legislation, and for it to be released in time for the Irish Presidency. Labour MEP Nessa Childers on Tuesday expressed serious concerns over the resignation of Health Commissioner John Dalli.
In her statement to Barroso she wrote: "Today on my initiative, several Irish MEPs have called on President Barroso to act with urgency. This is a strong message from Irish MEPs who wish to see this anti-tobacco legislation introduced as soon as possible. The tobacco directive is a major priority for the Irish Presidency which starts in January.
"I myself have expressed serious concerns around the sudden departure of Health Commissioner Dalli from his position. He was pushing for strong anti-tobacco legislation. This affair should not delay the legislation. It is far too important to allow the tobacco lobby from delaying it further.
"As co-chair of the MEPs Against Cancer forum, and as the only full Irish member of the Health Committee, I have campaigned for this anti-tobacco legislation for many months. I have worked closely with the Irish Cancer Society and Irish Heart Foundation, both of whom want this legislation to be proposed by the Commission and negotiated under the Irish Presidency.
"Australia has already brought in many of these tobacco controls, like plain packaging and pictorial warnings, and the EU should not be left behind in this vital fight against the tobacco industry."