The Irish Heart Foundation today (February 4th) welcomed a tenfold increase in fines for tobacco smuggling into Ireland announced in the new Finance Bill.
The charity’s Chief Executive Michael O’Shea said the increase in the maximum penalty from €12,695 to €126,970 on consignments of contraband will act as a deterrent on smaller scale smuggling gangs who are responsible for a huge percentage of illegal imports into Ireland.
He said: “This is a step in the right direction, but we’ll have to do a lot more if we are going to tackle the major international smuggling networks which are bringing illicit cigarettes into this country on a massive scale.
“In the last three years, the biggest fine imposed on any cigarette smuggler in Ireland was a paltry €7,500 – this was 100 times less than the corresponding figure in Northern Ireland. Whilst a judge in the North imposed a penalty of £729,000 (€811k) in a single case in 2008, the total fines here in 340 cases of tobacco smuggling and the illegal sale of cigarettes in just over three years to last June, were €161,000.”
Mr O’Shea concluded: “The Government has now taken some positive action to curb this menace and we can only hope that judges understand the damage smuggling is doing to the health of the nation by imposing maximum penalties in the most serious cases.”
Archive for February 2010
A man in his 40’s who was arrested following an incident in Ballybofey on the 2.02.10 and who has been detained at Letterkenny Garda Station will appear at the Special Criminal Court, Dublin on Friday the 5/02/10 at 10.30am.
Senator Marc Mac Sharry has welcomed the government’s decision to commit to
helping homeowners struggling with mortgage payments. The proposals
outlined by Minister Eamon Ryan last weekend follow the work undertaken by
Sligo based “Prevention of Family Home Repossessions Group”, and the
Government proposals mirror those outlined in the group’s report, of which
Mac Sharry is a co-author and member.
The Sligo based group which includes businessman Ignatius Beglane, Credit
Union Manager Barry O’Flynn, Solicitor Dermot McDermott, Accountant Cathal
O’Donnell and Marc Mac Sharry where praised in the Dáil and Seanad this
week for their efforts.
Independent Senator Joe O’Toole said that, “I have listened to Senator Mac
Sharry for the past year put forward solid proposals on this issue”. The
sentiment was echoed by Senator Ivor Callelly, “I particularly welcome and
congratulate Senator Marc Mac Sharry on the fact the Government has given
favourable consideration to his proposals in this regard.”
Senator Mac Sharry cautioned the government however on establishing an
expert group to review the situation. “More than one year’s research has
been done by our group and many others in the House. The establishment of
an expert group to tell us effectively what we already know would represent
superficial window dressing for the public when this is an issue which has
been teased out and researched in detail by this House in the past year,
something of which it can be rightly proud.”
The Prevention of Family Home Repossession Group firmly believes that the
best way to help those struggling to meet their mortgage payments is to
amend the Enforcement of Court Orders Act to prohibit the granting of a
Court order for repossession of a primary family residence due to mortgage
arrears without the following being undertaken;
- A detailed independent analysis of repayment capacity
- An examination of the quality of the original mortgage application
- That the analysis brings suggested solutions to the court to allow
the debt to be addressed by the borrower
Mac Sharry concluded, “Whilst the Irish Banking Federation and the Money
Advice and Budgeting Service have put protocols in place for banks,
practice is telling us repossessions are continuing by those financial
institutions which are not members of or affiliated to the Irish Banking
Federation. Action must be taken without delay”.