OFFICERS OF THE Revenue Commissioners seized 50 million illicit cigarettes less last year than in 2012.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan told the Dáil before Christmas that there had been 40.05 million illegal cigarettes seized up until the end of November last year.
Addressing the decline, Noonan said a number of factors had to be considered.
“The incidence of illicit cigarettes in Ireland is evaluated through annual surveys of smokers undertaken for the Revenue Commissioners and the National Tobacco Control Office of the Health Services Executive.
“The results for 2012 found that 13 per cent of smokers had an illicit pack of cigarettes, and the comparable figure for 2011 was 15%. This would suggest that the extent of the problem is being contained, as a result of the extensive action being taken against the smuggling and sale of illicit products. A further survey was carried out recently, and it is expected that the results will be available in the first quarter of next year.”
Noonan said that illegal cigarettes are intercepted at ports and points of entry through a network of surveillance.
He said that around 2,000 staff are dedicated to the searches and that they would continue to monitor the situation.
The Revenue Commissioners assure me that combating the illegal tobacco will continue to be a high priority for them, that they are committed to maintaining their extensive programme of action against all stages of the supply chain for illicit tobacco products, and that they will continue to make very effort to ensure that those involved in the illicit trade are brought to account before the Courts for their criminal activities.