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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
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# cabinet sign-off
Vaping product ads to be banned on public transport under new law
The sale of e-cigarettes at events where children are present will also be prohibited.

LAST UPDATE | Nov 22nd 2022, 1:05 PM

THE SALE OF vaping products will be prohibited from self-service vending machines, temporary or mobile premises and at events for children under new regulations approved by Cabinet today.

The sale of e-cigarettes to those under 18 years of age will also be banned, with retailers who break the rules facing minimum suspension periods and fixed penalty notices for offences. 

In addition, advertisements for e-cigarettes will be prohibited on public transport, in cinemas and near schools.

The ban on advertisements on public transport is aimed to limit children’s exposure to commercial messages which the Department of Health believes normalises and glamourises the purchase and usage of e-cigarettes, it is understood.

The Department of Health is believed to be concerned about some 16,000 different flavours of vapes – such as bubblegum and gummy bears – with concerns that vaping could be a gateway to smoking for younger people.

A review by the Health Research Board found that children who vaped were five times more likely to go on and start smoking.

These new proposals will be incorporated into the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill which is currently being drafted.

The Bill is expected to be finalised and published by the end of the year. 

Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Bill has already taken place at the Oireachtas Health Committee.

It is expected that the legislation will be introduced in the Oireachtas in early 2023.

“These measures are designed to protect our children and young people from starting to vape. We recognise that nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and we are acting today to make these products less accessible to our young people and to remove the advertising for these products from our children’s everyday lives,” Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said today. 

The Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Frank Feighan said that tobacco smoking continues to kill approximately 4,500 people in our country each year.

“We recognise that nicotine inhaling products are used by some adult smokers to assist them to quit tobacco smoking. However, we are clear that these products are of no benefit to our children and young people or to non-smokers and that is why we are taking this action today,” he said. 

Policing legislation

Justice Minister Helen McEntee also received Cabinet approval in what the Government is describing as a landmark Bill involving wide-ranging and comprehensive reform of policing.

The Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill provides a new framework for policing and community safety, giving effect to recommendations made by the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI).

Community safety is one of the central elements of the Bill, and it acknowledges that responsibility can’t rest with An Garda Síochána alone. It is understood that it puts a shared responsibility on departments and agencies, such as health and social services, local authorities, the gardaí and the wider community.

The Bill comes after there has been widespread condemnation of an attack on two gardaí on duty in the Ballyfermot area this week.

It seeks to establish local community safety partnerships that will develop local safety plans that are tailored to the priorities and needs identified by communities themselves.

The legislation also expects to strengthen and consolidate independent, external oversight of the gardaí.

The new Policing and Community Safety Authority will combine the policing oversight function of the Policing Authority and the inspection function of the Garda Inspectorate to make it a more effective oversight body, it is believed. 

As part of this change, the inspection powers will also be enhanced to include, for example, the power to make unannounced visits to Garda stations.

Also included in the Bill is the expansion of the remit of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and the overhaul of its investigation procedures “to support timely and effective resolution of complaints and investigations while fully respecting the rights of all to fair procedures and natural justice”, it is understood.

National security also features in the legislation, with an Independent Examiner office set up within the national security infrastructure which the Government says will work with policing oversight bodies in relation to the work of An Garda Síochána.

At the same time, the Independent Examiner will provide oversight of broader security matters.

Social housing 

While it does not require Cabinet approval, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien will be writing to local authorities this week about the new social housing income eligibility limits, which were announced by the Taoiseach over the weekend

From 1 January 2023, income eligibility thresholds for social housing will be increased by €5,000 in every local authority.

It’s been over a decade since any changes have been made to the income eligibility thresholds. Following a review of the limits, the minister received a report late last year from the Housing Agency on the thresholds.

In line with the recommendations in the report, in September this year the thresholds for five local authorities – Carlow, Clare, Laois, Westmeath, Galway County – were increased by €5,000. These five counties will also be affected by the increase to take effect from January.

The revised thresholds will see the revised income threshold for Cork City, Dublin City, Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown, Fingal, Galway City, Meath, South Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow increase to €40,000. 

For Carlow, Clare, Cork County, Galway County, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick City and County, Louth, Waterford City and County, Westmeath and Wexford will see the revised baseline income threshold rise to €35,000. 

The revised threshold will be €30,000 for Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo and Monaghan. Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and Tipperary.

While it will not go to Cabinet this week, it is expected that the Government is set to approve new legislation covering post-mortems, organ donation and transplantation within the next two weeks.

The health minister aims to embed in legislation that consent is the defining principle in these matters while also introducing a statutory framework for consent to organ donation with the aim of making organ donation the norm when individuals pass away in circumstances where donation is possible.

The much-delayed Bill will also include provisions in respect of the storage, handling, transportation, disposal or return of organs, tissues or body parts. The aim is to ensure that these will be undertaken with due regard to the dignity, bodily integrity and privacy of the deceased.

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