Celtic Inns’ claim that a total smoking ban would damage the economy and communities of Wales has been backed by Mid and West Wales Conservative AM, Lisa Francis. Francis said: "This ban is not realistic and is unnecessary as there are already enough smoking regulations in the hospitality and catering industry. People will end up not going to pubs anymore and local communities will suffer especially if pubs have to close. Community life depends very much on socialising and pubs are often at the heart of communities." Clive Williams, Celtic Inns’ executive director, said: "The Welsh pub market is totally different to that of Ireland, where most pubs are owner-operated, unlike in Wales, where the vast majority are operated by self employed tenants. "The point here is that owner operators are more able to handle trade declines, than lower capitalised tenanted operators. This means that smaller tenanted operated pubs will go out of business if their trade declines at the levels that have been reported in Ireland of over 10%. I would therefore anticipate a far higher degree of business failures in Wales than in Ireland." Celtic Inns currently has no smoking in back of house, behind the bar and at the bar, with a minimum of 50% of restaurant/dining areas no-smoking. By December 2007 the company intends to reduce smoking areas to a maximum of 20% of the trading space.