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File photo of a Customs officer with seized cigarettes. Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Anti-smuggling lobby to brief Oireachtas Committee on illegal cigarette trade

Over 109 million illegal cigarettes with a retail value of €45.9m were seized by Revenue Customs officials last year.

REPRESENTATIVES OF AN anti-smuggling lobby are to meet the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform tomorrow to discuss the illegal cigarette trade.

The group Retailers Against Smuggling was set up three years ago to tackle illegal cigarette smuggling. It has almost 3,000 retail members around the country.

Committee chairperson Alex White said the group would have the opportunity to provide the committee with details of black market cigarette trading “from their point of view” and to suggest possible solutions to the problem.

Last year the Revenue’s Customs Service carried out 10,570 individual seizures of cigarettes and 1,499 of tobacco around the country. Officials seized 109.1 million illegal cigarettes with a retail value of €45.9 million, and 11.157kg of tobacco worth approximately €4 million.

According to figures provided by the Minister for Finance in the Dáil last week, the vast majority of cigarettes seized last year by Customs were found in Dublin (over 78,300 cigarettes). Michael Noonan said he had been informed that “all cigarettes and tobacco seized by Revenue are securely destroyed under Revenue control.”

He also said that when larger amounts of cigarettes “bearing established brand names” are seized, samples are sent to the relevant manufacturer for testing to determine if the product is counterfeit or not.

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