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Third of cigarettes in Cork are illicit

Friday, October 04 14:02:35

Nearly a third (30pc) of cigarettes consumed in Cork come from illicit trade, ranking well above the national average, according to a survey by research firm MS Intelligence.

A survey of discarded cigarette packs on the streets and in bins in Cork found that 30.3pc were non-domestic, compared with 27.7pc when survey a year ago.

Cork ranks 7th out of 22 cities and towns surveyed with the three worst affected areas being Drogheda (32.8pc), Tallaght (32.8pc) and Athlone (32.4pc).

The figures were announced today as accountancy firm Grant Thornton hosted a panel discussion on illicit trade in Ireland in the Gresham Metropole, Cork to highlight the findings of its recently published report in conjunction with Retail Ireland Illicit Trade in Ireland: Uncovering the cost to the Irish economy, and to discuss local issues with retailers and business people in Cork city.

Illicit trade is costing the economy as much as E1.5 billion each year. This is made up of an estimated E937 million in tax revenues lost by the Exchequer and a further E547 million lost by retailers and intellectual property holders.

Brendan Foster of Grant Thornton said: "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 recently opened practice in Cork City is already 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 in the city and county. These illegal actions must be stamped out to avoid further business closures and job losses."

"We must wake up and see that illicit trade, no matter what sector it takes place in, has a significant impact on both businesses and the Government's ability to implement its policies. It will be extremely challenging to implement public policy objectives on smoking if a quarter of Irish smokers buy their cigarettes on the black market, beyond the scope of any public health regulation."