A retail industry group representative has welcomed the recent discovery of an elaborate illicit cigarette manufacturing plant in Jenkinstown, Co. Louth.
Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland, the Ibec group representing the sector, said that illicit tobacco sale remains a “major threat” to legitimate retailers, adding that he commends An Garda Síochána and the state agencies involved in discovering the operation.
“The sale of illicit tobacco remains a major threat to legitimate retailers who incur of all of the costs associated with meeting the various regulatory requirements laid down to govern the sale of tobacco products in this country,” said Burke.
Revenue and An Garda Síochána closed down a large illicit cigarette factory in Jenkinstown, Co. Louth, yesterday morning.
It marked the first time a commercial illicit cigarette production plant was discovered in the State and the factory was in full operation when Revenue officers and the Armed Support Unit of An Garda Síochána entered the premises just before 8am.
Loss Of Business
“Yesterday’s discovery of a sophisticated tobacco manufacturing plant shows once more the scale and levels of organisation of this illegal activity within the State,” he added. “It also lays bare the loss of business to Irish retailers, and tax take foregone to the State on the sale of such products.”
Revenue officers found more than 40 tonnes of tobacco, all the pre-cursor components for the manufacture of cigarettes, and approximately 25 million cigarettes, branded 'Mayfair', ready for distribution.
This was a sophisticated self-contained operation with machinery capable of producing 250,000 illicit cigarettes per hour and pre-processing, processing and packaging facilities, along with living quarters, according to Revenue.
Illicit cigarettes that originated in this factory have previously been seized in both Ireland and the UK. If the finished cigarettes seized at the factory today had reached the Irish market, the estimated loss to the Exchequer would have been approximately €12 million.
“The work of revenue and customs officials, Gardaí and the other state agencies involved in this discovery is to be commended,” Burke said. “These agencies require further funding and support to ensure that other such operations are discovered and shut down in order to provide a level playing field for law abiding, hardworking Irish retailers.”
Investigations into the illegal plant are ongoing, nationally and internationally.
© 2018 - Checkout Magazine by Kevin Duggan