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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 18 September, 2019
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Cigarette smuggling: Dublin tops table for convictions

The average fine for cigarette smuggling last year was less than €2,000, according to Revenue figures.

File photo
File photo
Image: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

DUBLIN ACCOUNTS FOR more than one-third of all convictions over smuggled tobacco, according to Revenue figures.

There were 50 convictions handed down in the capital over illegal cigarettes last year, out of 128 nationwide.

Cork came a distant second with 11 convictions for either smuggling or selling untaxed tobacco. Limerick was third with eight, while Galway came in fourth place with seven.

Overall, only three counties in Ireland had no convictions relating to illegal cigarettes. This is a sharp decrease on 2010, when 11 counties had no convictions.

The average fine handed down for selling smuggled tobacco was €2,833. For smuggling the average was €1,829.

The Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee (ITMAC), which collated the figures from the Revenue Commissioners’ Defaulter List, said they represented a significant increase in “illegal cigarette activity”. A spokesperson said:

A lot of people see the illegal cigarette problem as one that happens in the big cities but this shows that it is now affecting nearly every county in Ireland and subsequently nearly every community is being exposed to criminal activity through this.

The spokesperson said the smuggling was being carried out by “high level international crime gangs involved in child trafficking, prostitution and terrorism”.

High cigarette taxes are pushing consumers on to the black market, the ITMAC spokesperson continued.

A fine of €1,800 will not deter an illegal cigarette smuggler when they can make profit in one bag or suitcase smuggled into the country. This problem is not going away.

More: Customs seize 54,000 cigarettes in Fermoy>

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Michael Freeman

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