5 July 2016
Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) today welcomed the first report from the Joint Agency Task Force, which was set up under the Fresh Start, The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan by the British and Irish governments and the Northern Ireland Executive as part of “a concerted and enhanced effort to tackle organised and cross jurisdictional crime”. The report, which prioritised excise fraud and illicit trade as part of its work programme, was discussed at the North South Ministerial Council yesterday at Dublin Castle.
Stephen Daly, retailer and RAS Spokesperson, commended the Task Force today “RAS welcome the great work done by all the agencies involved in their efforts to tackle organised crime along our border. This is a huge step in the right direction and will help ensure legitimate retailers in the border counties are the only sellers of these products and ensure carbon tax and tobacco excise is paid to the relevant coffer.”
Grant Thornton’s Illicit Trade 2016 report stated that the high price of tobacco in Ireland and Northern Ireland is an incentive to organised criminals to supply cheaper illicit products because their margins of profit are so large costing the Irish Exchequer and right holders/retailers €250 million in 2015 alone. Mr Daly concluded ”We look forward to a month being dedicated to tackling the smuggled solid fuel and tobacco products and hope that the Irish government consider our pre-Budget 2017 submission to compliment the hard work our agencies are doing along the border”.
Retailers Against Smuggling Pre-Budget 2017 submission:
• A moratorium on further excise increases until such increases can be proven not to encourage smuggling as a result of price differentials.
• Enforcing the offence of purchasing illicit cigarettes.
• The establishment of a Working Group on illegal trade in Ireland in which all interested parties are invited to participate.
• Full use of existing resource and an increase in same over time to allow the Revenue Commissioners, with An Garda Siochána, to enhance their efforts to tackle tobacco and fuel smuggling.
• Support, through resources pledged for An Garda Siochána and the Revenue Commissioners, for the work of the Joint Agency Task Force, set up under the terms of the 2015 A Fresh Start Agreement, to tackle cross-jurisdictional organised crime.
• An extension of the Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014 to cover all those deemed to have illegally smuggled cigarettes or fuel, regardless of that person’s means.
• An extension of the investigations scope of Revenue to non-registered retail outlets; for those outlets which are repeat offenders of selling illicit cigarettes and tobacco, the serving of closure orders.
• A repeal of market licences by local Councils where illegal goods have been found to be sold.
• Increased inspections of non-tobacco and non-fuel retail shops by the EHO.
• Regular spot checking of fuel transports on the road for compliance with carbon tax and VAT legislation.