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Minister to raise ‘concerns’ over NTMA tobacco investment

A Department of Health spokesperson told this newspaper that Minister Corcoran Kennedy is preparing a submission on a review of the ISIF’s current policy on exclusions and a separate review on its investment strategy.

As of the end of October the ISIF had equity holdings in three tobacco companies with a value of €1.5 million or .02 per cent of its total assets, according to information supplied to the Dáil recently.

Minister Corcoran Kennedy was questioned in the Dáil earlier this month by Fianna Fáil Deputy Jack Chambers regarding the investment. In her reply Minister Corcoran Kennedy said that she would be raising the issue with the Department of Finance.

“I will, in consultation with my colleague Minister Harris, express my concerns to the Minister for Finance [Michael Noonan] about the appropriateness of these investments in tobacco companies in the context of the review of the investment strategy and exclusions policy,” said Minister Corcoran Kennedy.

A Department of Health spokesperson did not confirm to the Medical Independent (MI) whether Minister Corcoran Kennedy has expressed her “concerns” directly to the Minister for Finance yet. However, the spokesperson did say the Minister is working on a submission for the ISIF review.

“There are currently two reviews underway in relation to this matter: The review on the ISIF’s current policy on exclusions, due to be completed at the end of the first quarter of 2017 and the review of the ISIF’s investment strategy, which is due to be complete at the end of 2016,” the Department’s spokesperson told MI.

“Minister Corcoran Kennedy intends to input to the reviews being undertaken in relation to the ISIF and this submission is currently being prepared.”

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