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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 124, 125, 126 & 127 - Illicit trade in tobacco [44206/13, 44207/13, 44208/13 & 44209/13].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 124, 125, 126 & 127 - Illicit trade in tobacco [44206/13, 44207/13, 44208/13 & 44209/13]. (22 Oct 2013)

External website: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...


124. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance the actions taken to block the illegal entry of cigarettes and tobacco into the Irish market. [44206/13] 

125. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an update on what is being done to disrupt trafficking of cigarettes and tobacco into Ireland. [44207/13]
 
126. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance the amount of illegal tobacco and tobacco products that has been seized by the Garda and customs officers in each of the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44208/13]
 
127. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons that have been either fined or jailed for illegal trafficking of cigarettes or tobacco in each of the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44209/13]
 

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 124 to 127, inclusive, together.

 

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners, who are responsible for the collection of tobacco products tax and for tackling the smuggling and sale of illicit tobacco products, that they view this criminal activity as a very serious matter, and that combating the illegal tobacco trade is, and will continue to be, a high priority for them. Their "Strategy on Combating the Illicit Tobacco Trade (2011-2013)" includes a wide range of measures that are designed to identify and target those engaged in the supply or sale of illicit tobacco products, with a view to seizing the illicit products and prosecuting those responsible. This multi-faceted strategy includes ongoing analysis of the nature and extent of the problem, developing and sharing intelligence on a national, EU and international basis, ongoing review of operational policies, the use of analytics and detection technologies, and ensuring the optimum deployment of resources at both point of importation and within the country.

 

Interception at the point of importation is achieved through a combination of risk analysis, profiling, intelligence, and the screening of cargo, vehicles, baggage and postal packages. Revenue enforcement officers also target this illicit trade at the post-importation level by carrying out intelligence-based operations and random checks at retail outlets, markets and private and commercial premises. Revenue and An Garda Síochána also carry out regular multi-agency operations, particularly in relation to large maritime importations and in checks at inland markets. There is extensive cooperation with An Garda Síochána in combating the illicit trade, and the relevant agencies in the State also work closely with their counterparts in Northern Ireland, through a cross-border group on tobacco enforcement, to target the organised crime groups that are responsible for a large proportion of the illegal tobacco market. The Revenue Commissioners assure me that they are committed to maintaining their extensive programme of action against all stages of the supply chain for illicit tobacco products, and that they will continue to make every effort to ensure that those involved in the illicit trade are brought to account before the Courts for their criminal activities.

 

Details of cigarettes and tobacco products seized during the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, are set out in the following table.

 
-
Cigarettes
-
Tobacco
-
Year
No. of Seizures
Quantity (million)
No. of Seizures
Quantity (kilograms)
2009
10,610
218.5m
1,171
10,451
2010
9,026
178.4m
1,171
3,367
2011
10,581
109.1m
1,500
11,158
2012
8,108
95.6m
1,395
5,277
 
The numbers of convictions in the years in question, for offences concerning the smuggling or sale of illicit tobacco products, that resulted in either fines or custodial sentences are given in the following table, together with details of the numbers of custodial sentences imposed.
 
Year
No. of Convictions (Fines or Custodial Sentences)
Custodial Sentences*
2009
164
45 (21)
2010
138
21 (13)
2011
161
45 (28)
2012
132
47 (20)
 
(*Figures in brackets indicate the numbers of custodial sentences that were suspended)
Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Irish-related
Drug Type
Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
Date
22 October 2013
EndNote

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