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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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Gardaí and Revenue given search powers to crack down on cigarette smuggling

Under a provision of the Finance Bill published today, authorities will be allowed to search “any bag or receptacle” that they reasonably believe contains an illegally smuggled tobacco product.

Image: Andrei Pungovschi/AP/Press Association Images

MEMBERS OF AN Garda Siochana and the Revenue Commissioners are to be given powers to search people with bags or containers which they suspect may contain smuggled tobacco products, under proposals to crackdown on cigarette smuggling.

Under a provision of the Finance Bill published today, an officer from the Revenue or gardaí will be allowed to search any bag or receptacle that they have “reasonable grounds to believe” contains a tobacco product that has been illegally smuggled into the country.

A person suspected of smuggling will be required to provide access to the bag or container but there is no provision in the bill for a search to be carried out on the person themselves or any article of their clothing.

Revenue research indicates that 13 per cent of cigarette sales in Ireland are on the black market – where cigarettes which have no excise duty paid on them and are being sold unstamped.

Already this year over 25 million cigarettes have been seized by authorities with an estimated value of over €10 million.

In addition to the search powers, authorities will also be allowed to detain a person “for as long as is reasonably required” for questioning and examination of any tobacco products they suspect of having been illegally smuggled.

More: Homeowners can claim tax relief on renovation and repair work from tomorrow

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Hugh O'Connell

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