A group representing news agents says that the discovery of an illegal cigarette factory in Ravensdale is proof that the illegal trade in fake cigarettes is growing.
The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) says that Ireland clearly has a “problem” with illegal cigarettes.
The statement comes after an intelligence-led, joint operation between Revenue’s Customs Service and An Garda Síochána, approximately three tonnes of tobacco with an estimated retail value of €1.2m and potential loss to the Exchequer of approximately €1m was seized in Proleek .
The tobacco was seized in a private dwelling which Revenue officials have described as a large scale cottage-type industry for preparing and packaging illegal roll-your-own tobacco.
It is believed that this is the first such operational facility uncovered in the State. 8720 cigarettes ( ‘L&M’ and ‘Excellence’ brands), counterfeit ‘Amber Leaf’ and ‘Flandia’ pouches and Dutch tax stamps were also seized.
Two non- Irish nationals were questioned and investigations are continuing.
The President of NFRN Ireland, who have received funding from ‘big tobacco’ companies, Peter Steemers said:“It is clear that Ireland has a serious problem with illicit tobacco.
“This is costing the government large amounts of revenue and it is costing jobs in the retail sector.
“When it comes to illicit trade our politicians talk the talk but we have yet to see any concrete action taken to deal with the issue.
“We need a pragmatic approach to smoking that will clamp down on the illicit trade and thereby keep cigarettes out of the hands of minors.”
The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) was founded in 1919 and is one of Europe’s largest retail trade associations.