Health Minister Sean Woodward has announced plans to introduce a smoking ban in Northern Ireland.

The new legislation will see smoking banned in all enclosed workplaces and public spaces, including pubs and restaurants. The announcement comes over a year and a half after the introduction of the smoking ban in the Republic of Ireland.  

Commenting on the announcement Gerry MacElwee of the Ulster Cancer Foundation says

We know from the South, economic benefits are there, social benefits are there, and the health benefits are there.

However, not everyone was pleased with the announcement. The bar trade is particularly concerned about the financial implications of the ban. Nicola Carruthers of the Federation of Retail Licensed Trade fears that the bar industry will be decimated, based on the experience of publicans in the Republic of Ireland since the introduction of the smoking ban. 

While the plans are now in place it could be April 2007 before the legislation is introduced.

An RTÉ News report by Brendan Wright broadcast on 17 October 2005.