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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 08:21 GMT 09:21 UK
Politician sacked for smoking
John Deasy: A controversial figure
John Deasy: A controversial figure
A prominent member of the Irish Parliament has been sacked for breaking the country's new smoking ban.

Fine Gael justice spokesman John Deasy admitted he smoked a number of cigarettes in the parliamentary members' bar on Tuesday.

It is understood Mr Deasy had asked bar staff to allow him to smoke in an open area outside the bar, but they refused because the area had yet to be designated as a smoking space.

The ban on smoking in workplaces became law in the Republic on Monday and Mr Deasy voted for the ban when it was passing through the Irish Parliament.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said: "It is with regret I have decided to dismiss John Deasy from the front bench of Fine Gael."

A party spokesman said Mr Kenny was "furious".

People are no longer allowed smoke in bars or restaurants
"He has been very generous and accommodating with John but this was a step too far," he said.

"There was no way he was going to have the justice spokesman openly breaking the law in Leinster House."

It is understood that Cork South West TD Jim O'Keeffe will be the new Fine Gael justice spokesman.

Mr Deasy has been at the centre of controversy since his appointment to the Fine Gael front bench in June 2002.

The young TD sparked debate when he voted with the government on a justice issue after a row with his own party whip. He has also been reprimanded for criticising former party leader John Bruton.

The area where Mr Deasy wanted to smoke has now been designated a smoking area.

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