ILLICIT cigarettes account for almost 30% of all cigarette use in Limerick, new research has revealed.
The figures were outlined during a panel discussion on illicit trade in Ireland, which was hosted by Grant Thornton at the Strand Hotel, conjunction with Retail Ireland.
The discussion was told that a survey of discarded cigarette packets in Limerick which was conducted by MS Intelligence between April and June, showed that 27.2% of packets displayed no Irish duty-paid stamp, up from 25.3% in a survey six months earlier
“Illicit trade is costing the Exchequer hundreds of millions of euro at a time when every cent of tax revenue is vital to the recovery of the country. Our own practice in Limerick City is working closely with local businesses, some of whom are finding it next to impossible to compete against fraudulent goods being sold by organised crime gangs across the Mid- West. These illegal actions must be stamped out to avoid further business closures and job losses,” said Brendan Foster of Grant Thornton.
Reacting to the survey results, Joe Sweeney, president of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) called for action to combat the problem.
“Whilst the government has recognised the seriousness of the illicit trade problem there is a lot more that it could do to help Irish retailers who are suffering lost sales to illegal operators. Consumers also have a role to play in realising that buying cheaply priced goods sold informally or door-to-door is not a victimless crime, but one that is damaging the Irish economy and putting legitimate traders out of business.”
For more, see Monday’s Limerick Leader, print edition.