The Dublin Jack, the no-smoking pub facing prosecution for forcing smokers into the street and causing an obstruction, may be given outside litter bins with ashtrays - by the government. The revelation came after the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, which issued a notice of intended prosecution to the pub, said it had received seven obstruction complaints from passers-by and residents about the Dublin Jack placing chairs and barrels outside the pub for smokers. But the department did not make it clear whether the barrels, or the people who congregate around them, were causing the problem. A Health, Welfare and Food Bureau spokesman last night announced the moves to 'facilitate' the pub's no-smoking policy. 'We understand a litter container with an ashtray will shortly be provided by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in the vicinity of the bar,' the spokesman said. 'This should facilitate its implementation of a no-smoking policy.' The spokesman added that the department had been encouraged to talk to the bar operator to establish an understanding about what constituted an obstruction offence. A bar operator who has a similar barrel on the street in Lan Kwai Fong - for decoration, not for smokers - said he would not remove it despite complaints as long as other restaurants also flouted the rules by putting chairs and tables outside. Meanwhile, the Dublin Jack, which may overturn its smoke-free policy because of the possible action, has received support from smokers. They said the prosecution threat over the barrels placed outside with ashtrays was stupid and flew in the face of the government's just-announced plans to make all pubs and restaurants smoke-free. Joan Wong Siu-yin, a 30-year-old bank worker who walks past the pub in Cochrane Street almost every day, said: 'The government is very stupid. This is not fair to the pub. I support the smoke-free policy, though I am a smoker myself. 'What the government is doing is very discouraging to other bars and restaurants.' Ms Wong said there were only two barrels outside the pub and they were no bigger than two rubbish bins put there by the government. 'If the pub is causing obstruction, the government is causing obstruction too,' she said. Another regular lunch-time smoker in the area, Jeff Chan Ming-fai, 28, agreed. 'The government is not expecting smokers to gather around a rubbish bin outside the bar to smoke and enjoy their chat when inhaling a horrible smell from the trash, is it?' he said. Non-smoker Anthony Ng, another regular passer-by, supported the government and said the bar was causing an obstruction. 'I am a non-smoker. I think those who want to smoke should go back home, not smoke in the street, as the second-hand smoke is bad for people walking by,' Mr Ng said. Two inspectors from the department were seen patrolling around the Dublin Jack yesterday. At a nearby pub, The Keg, which has a similar barrel outside, manager Warren Mcinnef said it had always been in the street as a decorative feature and would remain because it carried the name of the pub. 'The police have warned us about the barrel causing an obstruction, but we will not take it in while other restaurants are placing chairs and tables out in the streets to serve customers every night,' he said. Government plans to ban smoking in restaurants, bars and karaoke parlours, delayed since 2001 in the face of vehement opposition from the catering industry, will be discussed by the Legislative Council health panel on Monday.