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Over €100 million of smuggled contraband has been seized at Irish airports and ports since 2016

At Dublin Port, alone, €87 million worth has been seized since 2016.

File photo. €18 million worth of goods has been seized at Dublin Airport in the past four years.
File photo. €18 million worth of goods has been seized at Dublin Airport in the past four years.
Image: Shutterstock/Bartosz Luczak

THE VALUE OF illicit goods seized at Dublin Airport in 2018 more than doubled on the previous year, while authorities have seized €18 million worth of contraband at the airport since 2016.

The figure for amounts seized in Dublin Airport far outweighs the value of seizures in Cork and Shannon airports over the same time period, with almost €218,000 and €2.06 million respectively.

The value of goods seized at Rosslare and Dublin Ports, meanwhile, has exceeded €100 million in that time. 

The figures were released to Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy via parliamentary question. 

The values listed cover all types of seizures from excisable products, weapons, controlled drugs, meats etc. It details the value of the products excluding excise duty and VAT.

Here’s Dublin Airport’s figures for smuggled contraband for the past four years:

  • 2016 – €3,457525
  • 2017 – €3,946,862
  • 2018 – €8,037,584
  • 2019 (up to 30 November) – €2,991,350

In Cork Airport, the figures ranged from €94,115 in 2016 to €39,382 in the first 11 months of this year.

In Shannon, meanwhile, the first 11 months of this year have seen the highest value of goods seized since 2016 with €563,538 worth. 

At the ports, meanwhile, the figures associated with goods seized is far greater. 

At Dublin Port, alone, €87 million worth has been seized since 2016. 

Here’s a breakdown of seizures there:

  • 2016 - €13,791,790
  • 2017 – €46,619,643
  • 2018 - €18,246,348
  • 2019 (up to 30 November) - €8,974,533

And here’s the breakdown at Rosslare:

  • 2016 - €6,361,986
  • 2017 - €145,941
  • 2018 - €9,017,513
  • 2019 (up to 30 November) - €2,885,646

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In 2017, TheJournal.ie got a behind-the-scenes look at Revenue’s new X-ray machine, and the state-of-the-art technology used to detect smuggling.

That scanner cost €1.7 million but detected significant quantities of drugs, illicit cigarettes and alcohol as well as other banned items in the first six months of operation. 

One enforcement officer said that criminals “will surprise you with the places they’ll try to hide stuff”.

But she added: “It’s nearly impossible to get something passed us. The equipment is that sophisticated. But we’ve seen them try everything. Hiding drugs in tyres, in the pallets themselves, in fuel tanks or even the engine block. This scanner sees all those.

“If you’re hiding something, we’ll find it.”

With reporting from Michelle Hennessy

About the author:

Sean Murray

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