With almost 30% of the Irish cigarette market made up of illicit product, Retail Ireland is calling for urgent action from the government to halt black market trade
Jul 12 2012
Retail Ireland chairman Frank Gleeson believes urgent government action is needed “to put an end to criminals reaping large amounts of money from black market trade"
Retail Ireland, the IBEC group that represents the retail sector, has welcomed news of the recent seizure of 700,000 illegal cigarettes in Dublin Airport. The group said over 1.8 billion cigarettes smoked in Ireland are sourced from the black market, costing the Exchequer up to €750m every year in lost taxes.
Commenting on the issue, Retail Ireland chairman Frank Gleeson said: "These seizures are just the tip of the iceberg. Retail Ireland estimates that almost 30% of the Irish cigarette market is made up of illicit product, with over 1.8 billion of cigarettes smoked in Ireland sourced from the black market.
"This illegal trade has a devastating impact on retailers, which are already struggling to keep people in jobs. We need to see urgent action from government, including investment of more resources into detecting cigarette smuggling, to put an end to criminals reaping large amounts of money from black market trade," he added.
Lobby group, Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS), also recently held a meeting on 25 June in Cork city in order to discuss the problem of cigarette smuggling and illegal selling in the city and county.
The national organisation invited retailers from across Cork county and city to attend as well as local politicians, councillors and representatives from law enforcement, revenue and customs.
In the Revenue Commissioner’s 2011 defaulters list, Cork had the second highest rate of convictions for illegal cigarette selling.
Cork city retailer Kevin Herlihy, who is part of RAS, said that “the situation in Cork is getting worse and cannot continue”. Pointing to a national survey carried out by RAS, he added that last year, independent retailers had to let go approximately 700 staff due to the illegal trade.
At the meeting the RAS discussed the introduction of a minimum fine of €10,000 on conviction for cigarette smugglers and illegal cigarette sellers.