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Cheap Cigarettes and Smuggling


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Cheap Cigarettes and Smuggling

Cigarettes are being bought for just €4 for a packet of 20. The usual price for most brands is €10.  An investigator of the Criminal Assets Bureau has found that gangs made up of former republican paramilitaries are paying protection to republican extremists, and one gang has obtained about €16 million from this corrupt trade. The gangs have shipments coming from the Far East in a 40 Ft container of cigarettes, which can be bought for €300,000 and sold here in Ireland for €5 million.  Around 10,000 x 40 Ft containers pass through Dublin port weekly, and there is only one X ray scanner, so gangs have confidence that they won’t be caught.

The report has states that ‘organised dissident and criminal groups have now begun to produce their own illegal cigarettes in secret factories north of the border. Around one in every four cigarettes smoked in Ireland has no duty paid on it.  Intelligence suggests a small hard core group made up of renegades divert the profits towards terrorism. Ireland is now a hub and dropping off point for smugglers, who often forward their contraband for the more densely populated U.K for greater profits’

Two former Republican paramilitary groups which are based in Spain are the main perpetrators.  The report adds ‘The profits they generate from their illegal trade runs into millions of Euro.  One individual based in Monaghan, organises large scale shipments.  A second, who lives in Louth, is currently the target of customs and the CAB.  He had made a vast fortune, in the region of €16 million with property in Florida.’ The report continues to say that customs and the Garda must crack down on this illegal trade.  Fines for people found smuggling goods here in Ireland is just €2,870.

Tara Buckley, the Director General at the The Retail Grocery Dairy & Allied Trades Association  (RGDATA), an organisation which represents 4000 shops and supermarkets commented that ‘Criminals are openly selling illegal tobacco on street corners from white vans in housing estates and sometimes directly outside stores. We believe that the Gardaí and Revenue do a great job with limited resources and would like to see specific policies introduced to table this issue once and for all. These include mandatory minimum fines of at least €10,000 and attachment orders to makes sure they pay”.

One of the ways you can tell you have purchased illegitimate cigarette packets is that they don’t carry a Revenue stamp on them, whereas legitimate packets do, however in this age where everyone is watching their pocket will many care?

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