Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 159 - Illicit trade in tobacco [31095/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 159 - Illicit trade in tobacco [31095/14]. (15 Jul 2014)

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Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the research and analysis that has been undertaken on potential increases in black market activity as a result of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2014; if any resources have been put in place to combat same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31095/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners, who have responsibility for the collection of tobacco products tax and for tackling illegal activity in the tobacco trade, that they are very aware of the threat that shadow economy activity poses.  Revenue collects some €1 billion annually in tobacco products tax so protection of this tax and tackling fraudulent activity will continue to be a high priority.

From a taxation perspective, Revenue relies on the tobacco tax stamp to identify tax-paid tobacco products and this will continue following the introduction of standardised packaging.  The standardised packaging legislation will accommodate the tax stamp and Revenue expects that the new packaging rules will ensure effective security features to make counterfeiting very difficult.  The tobacco tax stamp has, itself, a range of sophisticated security features to minimise the risk of counterfeiting. 

Revenue is an integrated tax and customs administration with some 2,000 staff engaged in confronting non-compliance generally, including tobacco smuggling. It is not possible to disaggregate staffing resources deployed exclusively on policing shadow economy activity in the tobacco trade.  For effective operational management, the funding and resources assigned to programmes are interdependent, with staff resources deployed according to business needs.  Revenue's work at ports, airports and postal depots to counter tobacco smuggling is supported by equipment and resources such as scanners, x-ray machines and detector dogs and these are reviewed regularly in light of technological developments and operational effectiveness.

Revenue's view is that the introduction of standardised packaging is unlikely to affect significantly their work against the illicit trade in tobacco products and is unlikely to require the allocation of additional resources. However, Revenue will continue to give priority to the assignment of resources to tackling illegal activity and this matter will be kept under review.

Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Drug Type
Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
15 July 2014

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