Declan Breathnach TD
Louth (and East Meath)

26th October, 2018

Breathnach delighted that Sale of Illicit Goods Bill 2017 has passed Second Stage in Dáil despite Government opposition
-This legislation is needed now more than ever to protect small businesses with Brexit looming –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach, spokesperson on North South Bodies and Cross Border Co-Operation is delighted that the Bill he introduced in the Dáil last year The Sale of Illicit Goods Bill, 2017 has passed a Second Stage vote this week in the Dáil despite Government opposition.

“I was very grateful for the support of 68 of my Dáil colleagues, as the vote was carried by 69 to 55 votes.

“I presented this Bill to the House with the backing of Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) which represents over 3,000 small and medium sized retailers nationwide.

“I am grateful for the many contributions during Wednesday’s debate and that the serious issue of smuggling and illegal trade was brought before the Dáil.   The Bill has now been voted through to go before a Select Committee on Finance, where all parties can put forward amendments to enhance the piece of legislation, and iron out any difficulties the Government may have had with it.

“The legislation is needed now more than ever with the danger of an increase in smuggling with an unresolved border situation.

“Currently the price of a pack of cigarettes is €12.70 when purchased in a responsible retailer’s store.  They simply cannot compete with the €5 packs that are sold by criminal gangs in the streets.

“13% of all packs of cigarettes held in Ireland are illegal representing a loss to the Exchequer of €229 million in 2017 alone and €1.7 billion between 2010 and 2017.  This is enough to build 8,400 social housing units.  Instead, the money goes directly into the hands of criminal gangs.

“Similarly with alcohol and solid fuel smuggling, for alcohol, the total seizure in Ireland has increased by 100% and is continuing to increase. The loss to the economy from 2010 to 2014 alone was €655 million according to a report by Grant Thornton.

“We need to be mindful that in relation to illegal alcohol and cigarettes, there is a health issue in that we haven’t a clue what is in those products.  Similarly, with solid fuels, they are beyond smoky, and polluting our environment.

“While An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners are doing a good job in catching those involved they undoubtedly need more resources to tackle smuggling in border communities.

“Currently there is no deterrent to purchasing smuggled goods as it is not a crime. The aim of the Bill is to deter people from buying illicit alcohol, solid fuel and tobacco by introducing on-the-spot fines for buying goods where taxes have not been paid and is a necessary measure to protect small Irish retailers.

Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2 (Declan – 087 2697638)

(T) 01 6183549 (Email)