U2 frontman Bono has broken Ireland's controversial smoking ban by enjoying a cigarette with fellow rockers THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS.

The JOSHUA TREE singer - real name PAUL HEWSON - was caught lighting up last week during a night out with the Californian band - at the lavish TEA ROOM restaurant of the CLARENCE HOTEL, which he and his bandmates own.

BONO explains, "It was the wee small hours, I was in the company of people from out of town who didn't know about the ban and for a moment nor did I. I was quickly reminded by the staff and a few friends, I apologised then and I apologise now."

Ireland was the first ever country to forbid smoking in the workplace when it introduced the ban earlier this year (29MAR04).

18/06/2004 19:35