We can't have it both ways over smoking policy
CIGARETTES have always held a strange place in the politics of Northern Ireland. In the Bible belt of mid-Antrim the anti-smoking religious elite have frequently acquiesced in the face of economic realities and Health Ministers have avoided the irony of opposing smoking on health grounds.
Even last week Diane Dodds - at the European Parliament - managed to make the DUP face both ways on the same subject.
Edwin Poots and Jim Wells are both on record in their opposition to smoking and in their support for measures to restrict access to cigarettes.
So why, when the Northern Ireland health service is spending millions on the care of those damaged by cigarettes, do we have a DUP MEP lambasting these very same measures?
Northern Ireland can't have it both ways. We can't oppose smoking, but support the manufacture of cigarettes.
We can't complain about the detrimental effect smoking has on the health of our citizens, while at the same time refusing to accept that success in reducing smoking will result in a demise in cigarette manufacture.
Rostrevor, Co Down