Smuggling activity ‘rampant’ off Sligo coast, TD tells Dail

‘Reports of speed boats operating under cover of darkness.’

Sligo News File Online.

Tony McLoughlin, TD. Fine Gael.
Tony McLoughlin, TD.
Fine Gael.

Gardai and customs are struggling to cope with an apparent upsurge
in smuggling off the Sligo coast.

The scale of the lawlessness has been highlighted by Sligo-Leitrim
Fine Gael TD, Tony McLoughlin who told the Dail on Thursday
that smuggling of tobacco product is rampant as evidenced in
his constituency where illegal cigarretes are being offered for sale
at as low as €3 for a pack of twenty.”

McLoughlin said there were reports of speedboats sighted
off the coast in the middle of the night. He went on to say that
obscure beaches and small airfields were open to serious abuse by
drug and criminal gangs.

“I dread to think what is occurring in these instances. As I have
mentioned on previous occasions, smuggling and related activities
are rampant and their effects are apparent in my constituency
of Sligo-Leitrim.”

Observing that while retail outlets were governed by laws regulating the sale of tobacco, resulting in them having to charge €10 for a twenty packet of cigarrettes, he said “not one red cent” of the €3 price of the illegal cigarettes “will make its way back to the Exchequer.”

Supporting a second reading of the Custom Bill 2014, he said the
measure would strengthen the role of the Customs and Excise
service, and give more powers to stop, seize and prosecute offenders.