Turf and briquette purchases to be criminalised

Penalty and on-the-spot fines proposed in Fianna Fail member’s Bill.

Sligo News File Online

Purchasing peat briquettes is about to become a criminal  offence.

Declan Breathnach, TD,
Fianna Fail.

Legislation being piloted through the Dail also aims to outlaw the purchase of turf, tobacco and alcohol from what the Bill describes as “unregistered retailers.”

The measures are contained in the Sale of Illicit Goods Bill 2017. Introduced in the Oireachtas by Fianna Fail Deputy Declan Breathnach the purpose of the Bill is, he said, “to provide for the introduction of a series of new measures which are directed at tackling the trade in illegal alcohol, tobacco and solid fuel.”

The Bill lists solid fuel as peat briquettes, sod peat and coal. Under the pending legislation, people purchasing the fuels will be liable to the imposition of a penalty and on-the-spot fines of €100.

Breathnach, from Dundalk, is a 57-year-old former school principal. He said, “The introduction of the carbon tax in the Finance Act 2010 had the effect of increasing prices for fuel products throughout Ireland. This has given rise to a sharp increase in the growth of illicit trade in solid fuel products such as coal, peat briquettes and sod peat…The Bill provides a practical solution to the problem of trade in illicit goods.

“Every time a product such as tobacco, alcohol and solid fuel is purchased from an illegal source, not a single cent goes to the State, while the criminals involved in illegal smuggling get richer and richer.”

As I indicated, he said, “the Bill makes it an offence to purchase illicit alcohol, tobacco or solid fuel or to purchase alcohol, or to purchase alcohol, tobacco or solid fuel from an unregistered or unlicensed retailer.

“It provides for the imposition of a penalty and an on-the-spot fine in respect of such offences.

“A €100 fine would apply for the following amounts: up to one litre of spirits, and each additional litre or part thereof, up to 200 cigarettes and each additional 200 cigarettes or part thereof; up to 150g of rolling tobacco and each additional part thereof; and up to 10kg of solid fuel and each additional 10kg or part thereof.”

The Bill has 14 sections divided into five parts.

Fianna Fail are virtual partners in the present Fine Gael-led Coalition