Health Service Executive v. St. Johnston Taverns Ltd. & Ors.
The Health Service Executive is appealing a lower court ruling in favor of the owners and operators of an inn charged with violation of the indoor smoking ban. The area in question was a wooden structure that had been erected in the courtyard area and designated as the smoking area. At issue were whether the area is “outdoor” and whether less than 50% of the perimeter is surrounded by walls. The structure was attached to the building on two sides and covered by a clear, acrylic roof which overlaps with the guttering attached to the building. There were small gaps (~300 mm) between the other two sides of the structure and the courtyard building wall. The lower court held that more than 50% of the perimeter of the smoking area was not surrounded walls or similar structures, and that the distance between the edge of the smoking structure and the building wall was immaterial. The High Court overturned the lower court’s decision, holding that the area was not “outdoor” but instead was entirely enclosed and essentially “a room within a room.” Therefore, the area was not exempt from the smoking ban.