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In brief: Tobacco tax loss 'contained'

TAX losses through criminal gangs selling tobacco was something Revenue Commissioners were trying to "contain" rather than eliminate, it has been revealed.

Revenue chairman Josephine Fehily told the Public Accounts Committee how difficult it was to stop this type of trade in a recession.

They were working, however, to make sure that illegal tobacco sales did not spread into the retail sector.

She described the profits to be made by criminal elements from cigarettes as "huge" stressing that in recessionary times people were "keen to get a bargain".

Death row last meals axed

TEXAS inmates who are set to be executed will no longer get their choice of last meals.

It is a change prison officials made after a prominent state senator became miffed over an expansive request from a man condemned for a notorious dragging death.

"It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege," Senator John Whitmire said.