#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 19 January 2022
Advertisement

'Unscrupulous pub owners' selling dangerous counterfeit alcohol

A spokesperson for Revenue said there has been an increase in seizures of counterfeit alcohol this year and there are considerable risks involved for those drinking it.

Image: Bottles in bar via Shutterstock

THE REVENUE COMMISSIONERS has this week warned the public about an increase in activity in the counterfeit alcohol trade as potentially dangerous products are being sold door-to-door and even in pubs.

Michael McGill, of Revenue’s Central Investigation Branch told TheJournal.ie that there has been a fourfold increase in seizures on last year with 840 litres of counterfeit alcohol discovered by officers so far in 2013.

“There’s a sizeable amount of alcohol seized that hasn’t gone into the manufacturing process so it’s still in big drums,” he said. “Because it hasn’t been bottled we can’t say for sure what it’s to be used for, so we can’t prosecute.”

Most of this activity is operated by criminal gangs who are also involved in the illegal cigarette trade and the alcohol is sold in the same way. Worryingly, McGill said that some “unscrupulous pub owners” may also be selling this alcohol over the counter.

“We carried out searches throughout the year and we always ensure that we try to prosecute pub owners in these cases,” he said.

McGill said there are “all sorts of risks associated to it” and some of the substances used in the manufacturing of the alcohol may be unfit for human consumption. He said:

If there’s a high concentration of methanol, that can lead to blindness and even death if you drink enough of it. The problem is that there isn’t any regulation of it and the people making it don’t know what strength it is, they do not have a scientific way of doing things. If we look at Poland two years ago, 20 people died there from drinking illicit alcohol.

There is also an issue with hygiene as McGill said that the bottles used are often recycled but the groups involved do not have the proper cleaning facilities.

The increase in this illegal activity is most likely due to the economic downturn, McGill said, as the demand for cheaper alcohol rises.

“What we’re saying to people is that there’s no such things as cheap alcohol and it’s as simple as that,” he added.

Read: Cash, cigarettes and counterfeit vodka seized in Louth>

Read: 20,100 cigarettes concealed in car are seized>

Read next:

COMMENTS (52)