Written answers

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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81. To ask the Minister for Finance the number of diesel fuel dipping tests carried out by State services in each of the years 2018, 2019 and to date in 2020; and the number of positive results in each year. [23182/20]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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I am advised by Revenue that a multifaceted approach is taken to tackling the misuse of fuel and their compliance activities in this area ranges from roadside sampling of private and commercial vehicles at checkpoints, as well as a specific programme based on enhanced supply chain reporting for suppliers and retailers. In addition, Revenue and the UK Revenue and Customs undertook a joint initiative to introduce a new marker for use in marked fuels, which came into operation in April 2015.

The number of samples of Marked Gas Oil drawn and the consequential detections of misused fuel for the period 2018 through 31 August 2020 are set out below.

Year Samples Drawn Misuse Detections
2018 27,875 835
2019 33,984 867
2020 (to 31 August 2020) 6,843 215

In addition, Revenue conducted random National Sampling Programmes in the years 2016 to 2019 to assess the extent of fuel laundering. The programmes involved nearly one in ten of some 2,500 holders of auto fuel trader licences. Tests of diesel samples taken from the randomly selected traders found no evidence of the marker in any of them. The results of this sampling are a clear indication that Revenue’s actions have resulted in the near elimination of the selling of laundered products at retail level. The 2018 sampling programme was expanded to include hauliers and other businesses in the transport sector. A very small number of samples from this programme tested positive. The results of the 2019 sampling programme were broadly in line with previous years. The 2020 programme analysis has yet to be completed.

The results represent confirmation of the effectiveness of the various measures introduced by Revenue in recent years to enhance compliance in the fuel trade and among users of diesel. The random sampling programme results do not signify the complete elimination of the illicit trade in fuel. However, they do demonstrate that systematic selling of illicit fuel through retail outlets and its use in the transport sector is negligible.

Despite the success in combatting the misuse of fuel I am assured by Revenue that combatting such criminality continues to be a priority. Revenue and An Garda Síochána collaborate closely in acting against cross-border fuel crime and also co-operate with their counterparts in Northern Ireland under the framework of the North-South Joint Agency Task Force. This cooperation plays a key role in targeting the organised crime groups who operate across jurisdictions and are responsible for much of this criminality.


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