Pubs and hotels say the prohibition of smoking has impacted on their business and call for the ban to be relaxed in border areas.
Half of the tourists who come to Bundoran in County Donegal are from Northern Ireland, but numbers have dropped significantly, and many blame the smoking ban. Business in the Allingham Arms Hotel is down a quarter.
Chairman of the North West Regional Tourism Authority, hotelier and Fianna Fáil councillor, Sean McEniff has no doubt the ban is affecting business in Bundoran. He is calling for a constitutional challenge to the ban which he says cost his party seats in the local elections. He says hoteliers in Northern Ireland are actively seeking trade from the Republic of Ireland with advertisements stating,
Come to Northern Ireland where you can smoke.
Sean Óg Kane, who runs the Astoria Wharf bar and restaurant says Bundoran has seen a large drop off in Northern trade since the smoking ban was introduced. People from Ballyshannon who used to take minibuses to Bundoran are now going to Belleek in County Enniskillen so they can smoke.
Border counties are now calling for the Irish government to relax the ban to allow restricted smoking areas for customers.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 21 June 2004. The reporter is Eileen Magnier.