Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Finance
257. To ask the Minister for Finance the proposals to introduce additional measures to combat the illicit trade in tobacco, drink and fuel products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62677/21]
I am assured by Revenue that combating the threat which fuel fraud and the illicit alcohol and tobacco trades pose to legitimate businesses, consumers and the Exchequer continues to be a priority.
Steps taken by Revenue to combat the illegal mineral oils trade include the implementation of stringent supply chain controls and reporting requirements, a rigorous programme of risk focused enforcement action and the application of robust legislation. 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 industry view is that the actions taken have been successful in curtailing fuel fraud.
The Deputy will be aware that illicit trade in alcohol can occur through the diversion of untaxed alcohol onto the market, through the production of counterfeit alcohol and through smuggling from countries with lower taxes. I am aware that Revenue takes appropriate action where illicit activity is detected and that this action is informed by intelligence on criminal activity and risk-based examination of commercial traffic and stock in retail premises.
In relation to the tobacco trade, I am advised that Revenue uses a combination of risk analysis, profiling and intelligence, and risk-based screening of cargo, vehicles, baggage and postal packages to intercept illicit products. Action after importation includes checks at retail outlets, markets and private and commercial premises.
I am aware that Revenue and An Garda Síochána collaborate closely in acting against fuel, alcohol and tobacco crime, and also cooperate closely with their counterparts in Northern Ireland, in 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.
I am satisfied that Revenue’s work against fuel fraud and the illicit alcohol and tobacco trades has achieved a considerable level of success. I know that Revenue is very conscious of the resourcefulness of those involved and remains vigilant for, and ready to respond to, any new developments in these areas.