Home > Illegal trade costs State €860m in lost revenue.

[Sunday Independent] , Reilly, Jerome Illegal trade costs State €860m in lost revenue. (28 Oct 2012)

External website: https://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/illega...

Ireland's black market in counterfeit goods endangers jobs and supports violent crime, writes Jerome Reilly

Up in smoke: A revenue officer from the Customs Service with some of the 7.6m contraband cigarettes seized last month. Startling research has lifted the lid on Ireland's black market, which has mushroomed since the downturn -- and is now costing the economy €860m a year and killing thousands of jobs.

From illicit cigarettes to dangerous counterfeit medicines, more and more ordinary people are actively seeking out black market goods to buy on the cheap because their finances have been squeezed. And Retail Ireland says this is playing into the hands of paramilitaries and criminal gangs who make millions from a wide range of black market enterprises including digital piracy, fake clothing, watches and perfume as well as fuel laundering.

Counterfeit booze is another major problem for the retail sector which has already suffered 30 per cent job losses since the downturn began. Retail Ireland and a group of retailers last week briefed members of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party on the crisis. At the end of July, the European Commission published a report on customs seizures in the EU which showed that the number of counterfeit items intercepted in Ireland more than doubled in 2011 -- increasing 119 per cent from 2010, while the number of cases taken by customs in Ireland increased 226 per cent.

The Government has been warned that the current level of convictions is not deterring even casual criminals from street-dealing in counterfeit cigarettes, clothing or jewellery, while for the criminal godfathers there's the potential of millions in illegal profits without the risks associated with the drug trade......

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