Dáil Éireann - Volume 336 - 23 June, 1982

Written Answers. - Cross-Border Smuggling.

460. Mr. Markey asked the Minister for Finance the number of instances in each Border county for each of the past three years where irregularly imported goods were seized by officers of customs and excise; and the number of cases where the goods were subsequently released.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacSharry): I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that records are not maintained in such a manner as would enable the required information to be given without the expenditure of an inordinate amount of official time.

However, the total number of customs and excise seizures in each of the past three years was: 1979, 2,827; 1980, 3,711; 1981, 4,095. It is estimated that about one-quarter of these seizures was made in Border counties.

The disposal of seized goods, whether by subsequent release or otherwise, depends on the nature of the offence and each case is treated on its merits. Minor seizures of a non-commercial nature are normally dealt with by acceptance of compromise sums in lieu of proceedings and by release of the goods. In cases of commercial smuggling the goods are usually retained.