Written answers

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

9:00 pm

Photo of Margaret ConlonMargaret Conlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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Question 89: To ask the Minister for Finance the action he is taking to prevent the sale of cigarettes to minors by street traders selling illegally smuggled tobacco products. [25417/09]

Photo of Brian Lenihan JnrBrian Lenihan Jnr (Minister, Department of Finance; Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners who have primary responsibility for tackling cigarette smuggling that such illicit trade is tackled using a combination of seizure and prosecution where appropriate. Seizure ordinarily takes place wherever illicit cigarettes are detected, which can be at the point of importation, for example ports, airports and postal depots, or inland where the product is stored, distributed or sold. This includes illegal selling at both markets and retail outlets.

In the case of street or market traders engaged in selling counterfeit or contraband cigarettes, enforcement action is carried out both by Revenue Officers and the Garda under tobacco tax stamp legislation.

To date in 2009, over 40m cigarettes with a retail value of approximately €16.7m have been seized. In addition, 72 convictions for smuggling and illegal selling have been obtained; those convictions include custodial sentences being imposed in 11 cases of which 7 were suspended. Proceedings have been instituted in a further 120 cases.

As regards the ban on the sale of cigarettes to minors as such, this is the responsibility of the Department of Health and Children and is enforced at retail outlets by Environmental Health Officers.

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