30th November 2016
The seizure of over 661,00 illicit cigarettes over the course of the past week illustrates that criminal gangs set to profit from Christmas shoppers. The seizure of 600,000 cigarettes in Dublin Port and 61,000 cigarettes in Clonmel, reinforces how Ireland has become an international target for smugglers. The smuggling of counterfeit products is ever-increasing. Over 840,000 illicit cigarettes have been seized for the month of November alone and so far in 2016 the Exchequer has lost almost €17 million.
Retailers Against Smuggling, an association representing almost 3,000 retail members in the fight against the black market in Ireland, are calling on the Government to make it an offence to purchase illicit alcohol, tobacco and solid fuel from an unregistered or unlicensed retailer. Currently there is no legislation in Ireland to deter people from purchasing illicit products. Retailers Against believe that introducing on-the-spot fines would encourage people to think before they purchase these illegal products, especially during the Christmas season.
Benny Gilsenan, Chairman of Retailers Against Smuggling stated that: “With the excise on a box of cigarettes even higher this year, there is a real fear among legitimate retailers and especially small shop owners that their businesses will suffer this Christmas. Retailers want this to be a good Christmas, not a counterfeit Christmas. The smuggling of illicit products over the Christmas period is likely to increase. Illicit products are not only illegal, they are often highly dangerous. Shoppers must be careful if a deal looks too good to be true. The Government must take action and ensure that the small retailer does not become a thing of the past.”