Publicans, he said, were investing a lot of money into
smoking areas only for the authorities to come along and make changes.
“They don’t want you to provide an area of comfort for smokers,” he claimed and so he was seeking a system of standardisation that would provide “a decent level of comfort” for customers.
Pat Hoey from Wicklow seconded the motion citing two competitors in his own town that have “beautiful rooms for smoking areas”.
However VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben warned the conference, “We need to be careful – how am I going to implement motions such as this?
“If one is looking for a standardised air-flow, the law is very clear,” he stated, “What’s unclear is the way in which the EHO will interpret this law.
“If we seek a standard implementation you can be sure that this will result in the lowest common denominator, not the highest,” he continued, “It’s not my role to question the motion but let’s be clear what we’re looking for.
“Are we seeking for some outlets to have their smoking areas closed as they don’t meet a given standard?
“The smoking law is simple, if you have a roof on your smoking area then 50% of the perimeter must be open.”
Wicklow’s Eamon Horan agreed that he didn’t want standardisation to reduce flexibilitiy.
“The biggest competitor is the at-home market,” he said, “I’d just like there to be a way to monitor air-flow such that people can sit in a reasonable level of comfort.”
The motion was defeated.