Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 119 - Illicit trade [55872/22] [Alcohol & tobacco].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 119 - Illicit trade [55872/22] [Alcohol & tobacco]. (10 Nov 2022)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2022...

119. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance if he is satisfied there are adequate measures available to the Revenue Commissioners and other statutory agencies to tackle illicit cross-Border trade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55872/22] 

Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance: I am assured by Revenue that combating the threat which fuel fraud and the illicit alcohol and tobacco trades pose to legitimate businesses, consumers and the Exchequer continues to be a priority for the organisation. 

Steps taken by Revenue to combat the illegal mineral oils trade include the application of stringent supply chain controls and reporting requirements, a programme of risk focused enforcement action and the application of legislative sanctions where that is required. In addition, Revenue and His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) undertook a joint initiative leading to the introduction a new marker for use in marked fuels, which came into operation in April 2015. The industry view is that the actions taken have been successful in curtailing fuel fraud. 

Illicit trade in alcohol can occur through the diversion of untaxed alcohol onto the market, through the production of counterfeit alcohol and through smuggling from countries with lower taxes. I am aware that Revenue takes appropriate action where illicit cross-border activity is detected and that this action is informed by intelligence on criminal activity and risk-based examination of commercial traffic and stock in retail premises. 

In relation to the tobacco trade, I am advised that Revenue uses a combination of risk analysis, profiling and intelligence, and risk-based screening of cargo, vehicles, baggage and postal packages to intercept illicit products. Action after importation includes checks at retail outlets, markets and private and commercial premises. 

Revenue and An Garda Síochána collaborate very closely in acting against fuel, alcohol and tobacco crime, and also cooperate closely with their counterparts in Northern Ireland, in the framework of the North-South Joint Agency Task Force. This cooperation plays a key role in targeting the organised crime groups who operate across jurisdictions and are responsible for much of this criminality. Those who facilitate this activity should be aware that they are funding serious organised criminal activity. 

I am satisfied that Revenue’s work against fuel fraud and the illicit alcohol and tobacco trades has achieved a considerable level of success. I know that Revenue is very conscious of the resourcefulness of those involved and remains vigilant for, and ready to respond to, any new developments in these areas.

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