Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) today welcome the announcement of new tobacco seizures in County Cork and Louth, however, note concern over the increasing number of contraband seizures in recent weeks. Rigorous monitoring and checks by Revenue officers are essential to combat criminal enterprises that are constantly adapting and seeking new ways of ensuring illicit tobacco products are widely available in Ireland.
A first capture of over 79,000 cigarettes and 57 litres of alcohol worth €63,000 in retail value took place on 16 March 2023, and equates a €50,000 estimated loss to the Exchequer.
Separately, on 18 March, Revenue officers seized 60,000 cigarettes, which have an estimated retail value of €47,000 representing a potential loss to the Exchequer of approximately €37,000.
These seizures demonstrate the significant volume and value of illicit tobacco products that are likely to enter onto the Irish market. RAS commends the work of Revenue and the ongoing efforts of customs officials to tackling the growing number of organised criminal groups and the devasting impact they have on the community.
Commenting, national spokesperson for RAS and Dublin based retailer, Benny Gilsenan said: “Significant seizures of tobacco products by Revenue officials in recent weeks indicate that the black- market economy is alive and well. Legitimate retailers across the country are facing unfair competition from criminal organisations exploiting the increasing demand for cheaper products in the context of the cost-of-living and energy crisis”.
RAS encourages anyone with information on the sale or supply of illegal cigarettes and tobacco to contact its confidential hotline. Free phone number 1800 295 295.