Damien English TD, Chairman of the Committee on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, chaired a committee hearing in Kilkenny on Monday on the issue of the black market in Ireland.
Following the meeting, Deputy English said: “It is becoming clear that major organised crime is no longer something which is confined to the big cities like Dublin, Cork and Limerick and black market crime is affecting towns and localities throughout Ireland.
“The black market destroys sales and makes jobs more vulnerable, undermining the gains made from job creation schemes and it is an issue that the Committee on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation takes very seriously.
“It has been estimated by Retail Ireland that the black market is costing the exchequer €860 million annually while it endangers jobs in legitimate, tax paying retailers. In various areas such as fuel laundering, sales of illegal tobacco and alcohol, counterfeit medicine and goods and entertainment piracy retailers are losing legitimate income as criminals move in for a quick killing.
“Taking on the black market should be a central plank of any future jobs strategy and it is important that we as a committee with a remit in the area of jobs, enterprise and innovation continue to play our part in contributing to achieving progress on this subject and finding new potential solutions to the problem.
“What is coming through strongly from the people we have met today in Kilkenny is that this is an issue which will require a multi-faceted and multi-agency approach to resolve.
“We heard today from a number of retailers who cited taxation and regulation as well as consumer awareness as being a number of areas, which if supported by the redeployment of resources, could help reduce the black market problem in Ireland. One of the suggestions this committee will look at is to have a cross departmental approach on taxation and regulations which have an impact on the 260,000 retail jobs in this country, such as restrictions on cigarette branding or amending the diesel subsidy.”