Exception to the rule

I FEEL sorry for psychiatric patients who will not be permitted to smoke in the confines of their hospitals once the ban is introduced on January 1.

Mental illness is very debilitating.

The effects are sometimes lessened by smoking which, for some patients, is a form of relaxation in an otherwise alien world from which they are retreating in some cases only for a while. Others are not so lucky.

They are destined to spend years, and sometimes a lifetime, in the care of a mental institution.

I ask Health Minister Micheál Martin to allow these patients the small

comfort of a smoke to help them get through the day.

Michael O'Connor,

18, Mill Brook Court,

Midleton,

Co Cork.

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