Solid fuel smuggling threatens Irish businesses and environment – SFMI’s pre-budget 2024 submission
Report states that over 33% of solid fuels on sale in this jurisdiction are sold illegally
21 September 2023
Solid Fuel Merchants Ireland (SFMI), the representative body for Irish solid fuel retailers, submitted its pre-budget 2024 submission to the Department of Finance. The submission, Tackling Smuggling to Safeguard Businesses and the Environment was prepared by SFMI’s public affairs team. Concentrating on the issue of solid fuel smuggling into the Republic of Ireland and the detrimental impact it poses to legitimate businesses across the nation. SFMI’s goal is to ensure a level playing field for all businesses involved.
A report by Morley Economic Consultants underscores the urgent need for robust enforcement measures to combat the growing menace of solid fuel smuggling. The report states that over 33% of Solid Fuels on sale in this jurisdiction are sold illegally. Not only do illicit activities undermine the integrity of the solid fuel market but also threaten the viability of legitimate businesses that comply with environmental regulations and contribute to the Irish economy.
SFMI’s pre-budget 2024 submission proposes a framework to tackle the smuggling issue and associated problems for retailers head-on.
Including a clamp down on the sale of high-sulphur content fuel imported from the UK, with enhanced resources made available to the local authorities and the Revenue Commissioners for this purpose.
With solid fuel merchants facing an existential crisis as a consequence of policies and legislative imperatives binding the sector, it is crucial that any transition plans contain a ring-fenced allocation of funding for the sector
Under the Solid Fuel Regulations, all producers of solid fuels must register with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On that basis, it is SFMI’s contention that legislative alignment should become a reality so that retailers of such products are bound by the same rules.
Colin Ahern, chairperson of SFMI, said: “The issue of solid fuel smuggling is a significant concern for our members and the wider solid fuel sector in Ireland. It not only leads to revenue losses for the government but also puts legitimate businesses at a severe disadvantage. We call on the government to take decisive action to protect our industry from unfair competition and preserve the livelihoods of countless hardworking people.
“By curbing smuggling, the government can ensure a level playing field for all businesses, foster growth and investment, and promote sustainable practices.” Mr Ahern concluded.”