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Irish cancer charity rejects corporate donation over tobacco link

Howard Lake | 25 February 2015 | News

The Irish Cancer Society has told law firm Arthur Cox that it will no longer accept donations from the company because of its work with tobacco company Japan Tobacco Ireland (JTI).
For the last two years the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) has received €20,000 from Arthur Cox which is one of Ireland’s ‘Big Five’ corporate legal advisers. ICS’s actions follows the law firm’s work with JTI to prevent the introduction of plain packaging on cigarette packs.
“Because Arthur Cox are now leading a legal action, which has the clear aim of preventing the enactment of legislation which we consider crucial to the prevention of cancer, we will therefore now decline any offer of a corporate donation from Arthur Cox,” ICS told the Irish Times.

Euro symbol in cigarette smoke - photo: Alexsandr Doodko on

Up in smoke: Irish Cancer Society’s principled decision will lose them €20,000 a year from a major law firm.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mark Mellett, Head of Fundraising at ICS, explained the charity’s reaction to the law firm’s work with the tobacco company:

“It’s not in line with what we do, which is preventing cancer and we see this as a direct attack on a key initiative.”

ICS and the Irish Heart Foundation have played a leading role in the fight to introduce plain packaging.
However, according to the Irish Times, ICS’ list of corporate partners in 2013 included “solicitors A&L Goodbody, which worked on legal challenges against Irish and EU legislation to ban tobacco advertising, and solicitors Matheson, whose clients include tobacco giant Philip Morris”.
On the community section of its website Arthur Cox says it also supports the Hospice Foundation, Barretstown and the Laura Lynn Foundation. No date for the next anticipated donation to ICS was specified.
Main photo: cigarettes and euro notes by Family Business on


How to move from Fundraiser to CEO - by Bruce Tait. Upwards white arrow on blue background.