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Cigarette smuggling accounts for 14% of market

Despite the fact that 14% of all cigarettes consumed in the State are considered illicit product, the courts gave a paltry average of €593 in fines to smugglers

Jan 16 2012

CigarettesIn response to a parliamentary question this week, the Minister for Finance stated that 14% of all cigarettes consumed in the State were considered by the Department to be illicit product, smuggled into Ireland, with a further 6% having been legally imported (Duty Free etc.) These figures were consistent for both 2009 and 2010, with a further study by the Revenue being conducted at present.

According to the Minister, the loss to the exchequer from this 14% is in the region of €250m. From a CSNA perspective, retailers were also significant losers to these criminals, (the smugglers, not Revenue!). Cigarettes are legitimate products in our stores, delivering 8%-9% profit, and an additional €5.50 per transaction in extra sales if and when the smoker comes into the shop.

A paltry €50,380 (averaging €593) in fines was given by the courts to smugglers, and €107,750 to 41 offenders convicted of the illegal selling of unstamped tobacco products.

Until retailers see that the Courts are treating these offenders for what they are, parasites and tax-cheats, and give meaningful penalties (custodial and financial) to these people, we cannot be satisfied that justice is either being done or seen to be done.

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