Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 48 - Illicit trade [19085/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 48 - Illicit trade [19085/16]. (29 Sep 2016)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2016...

48. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the efforts he is making to counter cross-border smuggling of illegal goods; the estimated financial cost of this illicit trade in 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19085/16]


Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan):  I am advised by Revenue, who are responsible for combatting smuggling, that action against this criminal activity is, and will continue to be, a central element of their work.


I am advised that estimating the scale of any illegal activity and the tax loss to which it gives rise is necessarily difficult and that it is not possible, therefore, to attribute a value to the overall losses associated with smuggling.


Revenue has introduced wide ranging initiatives to tackle fuel fraud over the last number of years. Revenue and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs undertook a joint initiative to find a more effective fiscal marker for use in marked fuels which was implemented in Ireland and the United Kingdom from the beginning of April 2015.


Revenue is also tackling the illicit trade in tobacco and cigarettes. Various operations undertaken by the Revenue have yielded significant success in seizures. Revenue has seized just under 40 million cigarettes in 2016 so far.


Revenue has recently conducted a review of the Alcohol Product Tax regulatory framework in relation to alcohol fraud. Revenue in conjunction with HMRC developed Operation Shard which resulted in six significant seizures in the United Kingdom and the closure of a French tax warehouse.


Revenue continues to meet its obligations under the National Drugs Strategy.  Revenue has primary responsibility for the prevention, detection, interception and seizure of controlled drugs intended to be smuggled or illegally imported into /exported from the State.


Revenue maintains an excellent working relationship with An Garda Síochána, HM Revenue and Customs, National Crime Agency and U.K. Border Agency/Force with a view to countering the activity of those involved in importing drugs.  Revenue's Customs service were involved in a number of joint operations with An Garda Síochána Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau which involve criminal activity with a cross border element.


Revenue along with An Garda Síochána and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) who have primary responsibility for enforcing regulations in respect of medicines, run regular operations countering the activities against those involved in the importation of illicit products.  For my part, I have, over recent years, taken action through the Finance Acts to ensure that Revenue has all the powers necessary to combat these forms of criminal activity

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