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Destroying illicit drink and tobacco costs Revenue €170k


7 million cigarettes seized at Dublin Port last October

7 million cigarettes seized at Dublin Port last October

7 million cigarettes seized at Dublin Port last October

Revenue Commissioners have spent more than €170,000 shredding illegal cigarettes, destroying fake branded goods and getting rid of illicit alcohol over the past three years.

The costs are part of more than €2.8m spent managing illegal goods that were seized during operations between 2016 and 2018.

Figures reveal that an average of €875,000 is being spent by Revenue each year keeping the state warehouse running.

The premises is used to store illegal cigarettes and alcohol, as well as other items, with more than €2.6m spent on employee salaries, collection and transport of seized goods, security, cleaning and other costs.

Illegal alcohol is disposed of when a sufficient amount is available, usually between 15,000 and 20,000 litres, Revenue said.

A set of operational guidelines explain how the board of Revenue can occasionally sanction the donation of seized legitimate alcohol products to charities at Christmas time.


"A small quantity of wine or spirits may be offered to a hospice or other charitable organisation on a rota basis," a spokesperson said.

"A receipt is signed by a charity representative and countersigned by the team member."

Revenue said alcohol was usually destroyed two to three times a year with a mobile crusher, and the aluminium, glass and plastic containers stripped out and recycled.

For seized vehicles, Revenue has five options - "appropriation" for itself or gardai, selling them or disposing of them for spare parts or scrap.

To be considered for use by Revenue or gardai, vehicles need to be less than eight-years-old, have less than 161,000km on the clock and be in good condition.

However, the guidelines add that certain cars "such as Mercedes, Jaguars, BMWs are excluded on the instructions of the Commissioner".

Cars can be sold at tender if less than 10-years-old and in good condition.

Cigarettes and tobacco are always destroyed, unless they are eventually released back to their owner following a successful appeal.