Tobacco haul worth €1.2m seized in Co. Louth
26 May 2014
A total of €1.2 million of tobacco has been seized from an illegal tobacco factory in Dundalk.
Three tonnes of tobacco was found at a private home in Proleek, Ravensdale, following a joint intelligence operation between Revenue’s customs service and An Garda Siochana.
Revenue officials said the house was being used as a "large scale cottage-type industry for preparing and packaging illegal roll-your-own tobacco".
It is the first such facility discovered in the State.It is estimated that the contraband could have cost the exchequer about €1 million in lost taxes.
Altogether 8,720 L&M and Excellence brand cigarettes were seized, as well as counterfeit Amber Leaf and Flandia brand pouches of tobacco, and Dutch tax stamps.Two non-Irish nationals were questioned but no arrests have been made.
Responding to the discovery, NFRN Ireland president Peter Steemers said it is "clear that Ireland has a serious problem with illicit tobacco", but that while " our politicians talk the talk…we have yet to see any concrete action taken to deal with the issue.
"The only initiatives that do seem to see the light of day are well-intentioned but ill thought out schemes put forward by Minister for Health James Reilly such as plain packaging and increased licence fees for retailers," Steemers said, adding that these measures will fuel the illicit tobacco trade. "These latest seizures just confirm what retailers already know: tax stamps alone are not enough to prevent smugglers and counterfeiters from working with impunity," he said.
Steemers added policies "based on sound evidence" were required, not experimental ones which have expanded the illicit trade in Australia with no reduction in smoking rates.