Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) is calling on the next Government to consider further resources in the detection and prosecution of illegal smuggling of excisable goods. New figures published by Revenue indicate that a new approach must be explored if we are going to stem the tide of illegal smuggling and give local legitimate retailers any chance against the flourishing black market.
The Revenue’s Annual Report for 2019 illustrated that:
RAS welcomes the Revenue’s acknowledgement that the problem is increasingly hard to detect, with criminal gangs now using inventive and complex smuggling and concealment methods. A more collaborative approach in tackling the issue is needed and RAS will work with Revenue in whatever way possible – for example greater sharing of information – and play its role in trying to combat the problem which is effecting livelihoods and local retail businesses across country.
Reacting to the publication of these figures, RAS spokesperson and retailer in Dublin Benny Gilsenan said “We know that the availability of tobacco products on the black market is widespread and yet we now hear that seizures are down significantly. It shows that criminal gangs are using whatever means necessary to evade detection and keep their illegal finances thriving. This needs to serve as a wake-up call for everybody”. He added: “The incoming Government needs to take a fresh look at what can be done to tackle this vital issue. Illegal smuggling is not only bankrolling criminal gangs and draining resources from the State, it is crippling legitimate local retailers trying to make a living”.