THE REVENUE COMMISSIONERS has said that yesterday’s seizure of 38 million cigarettes, with an estimated retail value of nearly €15 million, represents the third largest seizure in the history of the State.
The cigarettes were found in four maritime containers at Dublin Port following inspections by officers from the Revenue’s Customs Service with officials estimating that they had a potential loss to the Exchequer of €13.1 million.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland Denis Twohig from the Revenue Commissioners said it was the third largest seizure in the State’s history after seizures of €70 million in 2001 and €120 million in 2009.
He described it as “very significant” and explained how the discovery of the haul came about:
Risk-profiling. We have specialist units, their job is to go through documentation to see if there are any anomalies and then if there are anomalies identified that then is referred to the scanner team who will do a scan of the container.
“In this case, that scan showed anomalies which led to us opening [the container] and investigating further.”
Twohig explained said that the unusual brand, Golden Eagle, indicated that the cigarettes were probably “manufactured by the type of people manufacturing counterfeit cigarettes”.
He added that no arrests had been made so far and that it would take “a number of months” before progress will have been made in relation to any prosecutions.
Responding to figures from Retail Ireland that said around one-in-three cigarettes sold in State are smuggled, he said that research by Ipsos/MRBI in 2010 had shown that the level of untaxed cigarettes was around one-in-five, and of this six per cent was because of cross-border trade.
Twohig said this would cost the the State some €250 million with an overall tax base of €1.4 billion. He added: “We have to maintain our focus on countering cigarette smuggling.”