Retailers Against Smuggling Corporate Sponsor Update, October 2015

Retailers Against Smuggling Corporate Sponsor Update, October 2015

October 4th, 2015

Dear Corporate Sponsor, thank you for your ongoing support of Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS), the voice of the independent retailer in the fight against the black market. Please find below an update on the organisation’s recent activities.

In this issue:

  • Political Briefing
  • Budget 2016
  • 10 Million Seizure
  • General Election
  • Political Briefing

On September 23rd, we organised a meeting between members of the Óireachtas and our retail members in Buswells Hotel, Dublin.

This political briefing was very well attended by TDs and Senators from across the political spectrum, who listened to our retail members’ concerns about the impact that smuggling and the black market is having on their trade.

Apart from the national spokesman Benny Gilsenan, retailers from across the Dublin area attended the meeting.

Among the issues raised with the elected representatives were:

  • The need for the introduction of a reserves force, similar to the Garda Reserves, which would help the Revenue to clamp down on smuggling
  • The set-up of Criminal Asset Bureau-style operations, known as ‘Mini-CABs’, which would target low-level offenders
  • The use of attachment orders to take money from convicted offenders who do not pay smuggling-related fines
    Budget 2016
  • Retailers Against Smuggling was concerned about the decision by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to increase excise on cigarettes in Budget 2016.

While we welcome other budgetary measures aimed at making life easier for small businesses, RAS feels that the excise increase will have the effect of driving customers from our members’ stores and onto the black market.

We also note that there was very real concern among TDs, across all the main political parties, about the possible effect that the excise increase would have on the level of smuggling in Ireland.

Even Tánaiste Joan Burton, one of the Finance Minister’s closest colleagues, stated in the Dáil that a lot more had to be done to tackle smuggling.

We are calling on the Corporate Sponsors of RAS to contact their local representatives to raise their concerns about this issue. All relevant contact details are on the Óireachtas website – http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/tdssenators/tds/

On Budget day, RAS spokesman Benny Gilsenan featured across the media to raise concerns about this measure. Benny did interviews and commented in the following outlets:

RTE, Newstalk, Today FM, UTV, TheJournal.ie, the Irish Independent, the Irish Daily Star, the Irish Sun and the Irish Mirror.

  • 10 Million Seizure

A week after the Budget, there was a massive seizure of 10 million illegal cigarettes in Slane, Co Meath. RAS is fully supportive of the Revenue’s work and this is the latest in a series of large-scale seizures this year.

We are however concerned about the previous week’s decision by the Government to hike excise levels. RAS firmly believe that this measure will present further opportunities for criminal gangs in their efforts to target Ireland as a smuggling destination.

The size of the seizure in Slane also means that the anti-smuggling measures that RAS has been calling for need to be brought in as a matter of urgency.

RAS spokesman Benny Gilsenan spoke about the seizure on Newstalk, Today FM, FM 104, Q102 and LMFM and featured in one of the main items on TV3 news on the day of the seizure.

  • General Election

As the general election gets ever closer, we are calling on all of our Corporate Sponsors to make smuggling and the black market an issue for all candidates.

RAS has already sent the measures that are contained in our pre-budget submission to all political parties for inclusion in all political parties’ manifestos. We propose that our corporate sponsors also send their proposals to the main political parties on how to tackle the black market and smuggling.

RAS is also engaging with our retail members on the ground and we are distributing posters to our 3,000 members, which outlines the organisation’s position. We are calling on all retailers to display this poster in their store and to make sure that tackling the black market becomes an election issue for all candidates.

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