Wednesday 22 May 2019

Sale of 'Illicit Goods' bill to curb cross-border smuggling

Olivia Ryan

Louth TD, Declan Breathnach introduced the 'Sale of Illicit Goods' bill for debate in the Daily last week, legislation which he said was aimed at tackling the scourge of illegal smuggling in border communities.

Deputy Breathnach, the Fianna Fail spokesman for Cross Border Affairs explained: 'The 'Sale of Illicit Goods Bill' provides for the introduction of a series of new measures which are directed at tackling the trade in illegal alcohol, tobacco and solid fuel.

Deputy Breathnach commented, "Illicit trading is a scourge that is damaging legitimate businesses, poisoning the environment, enriching criminal and paramilitary gangs, and costing the state billions.

'The Bill I have introduced aims to change the culture and immediately disincentivise the purchase of illicit goods. The Bill will make it an offence for a person to buy illicit alcohol, tobacco or solid fuel and those who purchase such illicit goods will be subject to a €100 on-the-spot fine.'

'An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners undoubtedly need more resources to tackle smuggling in border communities. However we also need to do more to deal with the demand that is undoubtedly there. Education about the impact of this activity is a key part of this, but we must also introduce a penalty.'

'SMEs simply cannot compete with the low prices being offered for these illegal and frequently fraudulent products. Small businesses are the lifeblood of local communities in towns and villages and we need to do more to help protect them from the impact of smuggling.

I would call on colleagues from across the political spectrum to stand with me in defence of small businesses and against the criminal and paramilitary gangs who are orchestrating this activity," concluded Breathnach.

The Argus