Home > Dáil Éireann Debate. Question 233 - Illicit Trade [smuggling] [32499/23].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann Debate. Question 233 - Illicit Trade [smuggling] [32499/23]. (04 Jul 2023)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2023...

  1. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Finance what resources, such as x-ray scanners and detector dog units, are currently available to the Revenue Commissioners to combat smuggling at the nation’s ports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32499/23]

Michael McGrath, Minister for Finance: I am advised by Revenue that its approach to combatting the importation of prohibited and restricted goods and targeting illicit activities involves the use of analytics and detection technologies and ensuring the optimum deployment of resources on a risk-focused basis. In that context, I understand that operational requirements and arrangements regarding the deployment and use of detection technology and resources, including x-ray scanners and dog detector teams, are kept under regular review by Revenue having regard to ongoing risk assessment of smuggling and criminal activities and evolving operational needs.

Revenue currently operates twenty-three Detector Dog teams, which operate in tandem with the broad suite of detection equipment and technologies deployed by Revenue to target fraud, illicit trade, smuggling and criminality, such as scan technology.

The suite of X-Ray scanners available to officers at the main points of entry, range from handheld scanning devices to scan small packages, baggage scanners for the scanning of passenger luggage and parcels and mobile scanners to scan vehicles and containers. Revenue’s X-ray container scanning capacity of three mobile units, allows for the deployment to any port or other relevant location, such as warehouses, throughout the country, having regard to risk and operational needs.

Alongside the detection equipment and technologies deployed at the main points of entry, Revenue has a dedicated Maritime Unit and operates two cutters (patrol vessels). The Revenue Maritime Unit has a national remit to patrol and monitor internal waters, territorial seas and adjacent waters. These patrol and monitoring activities are aimed at the prevention, detection, interception and seizure of illegal importations and exportations of prohibited and restricted goods, including drugs.

Detection equipment and technologies deployed by Revenue are in addition to the application of the comprehensive legal framework in place as set out in relevant tax and customs legislation. Intelligence development and electronic risk analysis tools, including an advanced maritime risk assessment tool used by the Revenue Maritime Unit, form part of Revenue’s overall suite of measures and complement the deployment of detection technologies and equipment, including X-ray scanners and dog detection units.

Revenue keeps its operational requirements under continuous review, having regard to ongoing risk evaluation and evolving operational needs. The necessary funding for emerging detection technology and equipment comes from a combination of State resources and available EU funds. I remain open to consider any proposals from Revenue that will support its work in combatting fraud, illicit trade and smuggling.

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