Finance Minister Michael Noonan has revealed that the Office of the Revenue Commissioners does not intend to increase the level of surveillance it carries out on the illicit tobacco trade, should plain packaging be introduced.
Asked by Fine Gael TD Anthony Lawlor whether "plans are being made to increase surveillance on the illegal cigarette trade taking into consideration retailers' fears that there will be an increase in such activities," Minister Noonan said that the Revenue Commissioners are "generally satisfied with current scanning facilities" at Ireland's ports.
Currently, there are two mobile X-ray systems in use at Dublin and Rosslare ports, and a third 'mobile scanner' van, which includes an X-ray facility and radiation detection facilities. The Minister said that the Revenue Commissioners "consider that the container ports are adequately serviced by the two mobile X-ray container scanning systems."
He added: "I am advised also that the performance of the scanner van since its acquisition is being evaluated on an ongoing basis and that the possibility of augmenting this resource with additional units is being considered."
The Minister noted that a 'multi-annual' strategy for dealing with the illicit tobacco trade is currently being drawn up, and that "the Revenue Commissioners will consult with key stakeholders in preparing this document."
He also reiterated that Revenue is "satisfied" that plain packaging will not impact on its work to combat the illicit trade, "as they rely on the tax stamp to identify tax paid tobacco products and the standardised packaging legislation must accommodate the stamp. The tax stamp contains all features possible to minimise the risk of counterfeiting."
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones