A Great Figure Leading the World toward
a Tobacco-Free Era
By brother initiate Bernard Leech, Dublin, Ireland (Originally in English)
November 7, Golden Year 3 (2006), Dublin members of the Quan Yin family excitedly made their way to the government buildings to make a special presentation to Minister Michael Martin, who had been awarded The Shining World Leadership Award by our beloved Master.
Mr. Martin was responsible as Minister of Health in 2004 for introducing the smoking ban in all public places throughout Ireland. Very strong opposition to the bill came from many quarters to prevent it from becoming law. Many predicted the Irish public could not be changed from years of smoking freely whenever or wherever they chose. Amazingly, from the first day the ban became law, the compliance rate was close to 100%. Now two years after the ban took effect, it has been hailed as a complete success and has the overall support of the Irish public. Other countries were closely monitoring the proceedings in Ireland and soon introduced bans against smoking, so the action initially of Mr. Martin spread to other countries.
The award was received by Mr. Martin, who listened attentively as the letter from Master was read to him by a local brother, and he expressed his delight in receiving the beautiful plaque as a memento to cherish forever. Although the Minister was hard pressed for time, he graciously received us and thanked us for the presentation. We left his office feeling privileged to have come on behalf of our Master to honor such a courageous government figure that acts as the protector and guardian for the wellbeing of its people and leads the world toward a healthy, tobacco-free era.