Illegal tobacco sellers targeted by City Council

The operational group, set up by Dublin City Council, is set to tackle the illegal trade of tobacco in the city
The operational group, set up by Dublin City Council, is set to tackle the illegal trade of tobacco in the city

Dublin City Council establishes an operational group aimed at tackling illegal trade



18 July 2013

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A new group aimed at targeting the sale of illegal tobacco products in the capital has been established. Dublin City Council has unveiled plans to set up a group including representatives from Revenue and Customs, gardaí and the Department of Social Protection who will operate for a six-month period to tackle illegal cigarette selling in central Dublin. The council could implement measures such as giving ASBOs to illegal tobacco sellers.

The move comes after a series of meetings in recent months between officials and retailers, who have said they have seen their business damaged by the sale of illegal tobacco products. Lord Mayor Councillor Gerry Breen indicated that the aim is to crack down on the impact of illegal cigarettes by giving ASBOs to people found selling them.
"It is critical to keep saying that it’s illegal behaviour," he pointed out. "If you tolerate any of this behaviour it sends out the wrong message."

The Dublin City Council operational group is the first group established by a council to address this issue. Councillor Breen said that Dublin city centre is one of the safest places in the world but this is not always reflected in its reputation. "I think it’s critical that one agency, that is the City Council, takes the lead on this and defends the reputation, but also works to redress the perception of Dublin city centre as being unsafe. Anything that degrades the city domain changes the perception, and anything that improves the domain changes that."

A series of meetings have been held in recent months between the members of the new group, council officials and retailers. Retailers have said they have seen their businesses damaged by the sale of illegal tobacco products. The outcome of the meetings was the recommendation that an operational group be set up and that a range of measures be introduced to help the operational group to tackle the issue.

The measures include the widening of ASBOs to restrict illegal cigarette sellers entering the city centre; the issuing of on the spot fines for illegal cigarette sellers and a closer working relationship between gardaí, Revenue and businesses in the city centre. There have been 51 convictions for the sale and smuggling of illegal tobacco so far this year. According to figures provided by Finance Minister Michael Noonan in response to a parliamentary question, there have been 3,000 cigarette seizures and 609 tobacco seizures in the year up to June.



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