Skip Page Header

Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 151 - Customs and Excise controls [aircraft] [32618/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 151 - Customs and Excise controls [aircraft] [32618/14]. (17 Jul 2014)

URL: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...


Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Finance the number of private aircraft searched by customs for drugs in 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32618/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that all private aircraft arrivals at Ireland West Airport Knock are monitored on an on-going basis. The risk of smuggling (including drug smuggling) using unscheduled flights is fully appreciated by Revenue and is the subject of continuous assessment and risk analysis. The decision on whether or not to search a private aircraft is based on risk analysis, profiling, evaluation of national and international smuggling trends, journey frequency, routes and other risk indicators. It can also be a result of specific intelligence.  Flights with origins and destinations with a high-risk rating attract particular attention.

While private aircraft are boarded from time to time at the Airport to check for any excisable products or prohibited items including drugs, it is not appropriate for the Revenue Commissioners to publish precise details of such enforcement activities as this could prejudice current or future operations. The Commissioners further advise me that passengers and crew from private aircraft who enter the State are subject to the same checks as any other arrivals, including individual profiling, and are liable to be checked by Revenue Customs staff and screened by the drug detector dog.

In line with best practice in customs administrations globally, Revenue regards the development and management of information and intelligence as critical to the detection of evasion and smuggling, including drug smuggling.  This is very important in the case of Ireland and other EU Member States where the operating environment for Customs has been shaped to a significant degree by the introduction of the Internal Market and the related principals of freedom of movement within the EU. Of specific relevance are the abolition of routine and systematic Customs checks on goods and passengers moving within any part of the EU. The approach has, of necessity, been to balance the freedom of movement principle in regard to people and goods with the need to control smuggling.

I can assure the Deputy that the Revenue Commissioners attach the highest priority to combating the smuggling of controlled drugs and are committed to playing an active role, in conjunction with other relevant agencies, in working against this criminal activity and those responsible for it.

Repository Staff Only: item control page