Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 218 - Illicit trade in tobacco [8215/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 218 - Illicit trade in tobacco [8215/14]. (18 Feb 2014)

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218. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the efforts that have been made by the Revenue Commissioners to clamp down on the sale of illegal cigarettes here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8215/14] 

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that combating the illegal tobacco trade is, and will continue to be, a high priority for them. Their work against this illegal activity includes a range of measures designed to identify and target those who are engaged in the supply or sale of illicit 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, the use of analytics and detection technologies and ensuring the optimum deployment of resources at points of importation and within the country.
Interception of illicit tobacco products is achieved through a combination of risk analysis, profiling, intelligence and the screening of cargo, vehicles, baggage and postal packages. Revenue officers also target the 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.
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. In addition, cooperation takes place with other Revenue administrations and with the European Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF, in the ongoing programmes to tackle the illicit trade at international level.
In 2013, a total of 40.8 m cigarettes with a retail value of €18.9 m and 4.458 kgs of tobacco with a retail value of €1.8 m were seized by Revenue.
I am assured by the Revenue Commissioners that they remain committed to acting against all stages of the supply chain for illicit tobacco products and will continue to make very effort to ensure that those involved in the illicit trade are brought to account before the Courts for their criminal activities.

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