Some of you may have seen the programme on RTE the other night, which stated that a recent report presented to the government found that a quarter of all cigarettes sold in Ireland are contraband. The loss of revenues to the Exchequer from this contraband is approximately €1 billion. When I considered that one in four cigarettes were smuggled into the country illegally it really got me thinking! What ever way you look at it that is an awful lot of containers full to the brim of boxes of cigarettes. And if you can get that through customs without any problems obviously bringing in drugs doesn’t present a major problem either.
So I asked my friend Dave Cerasi who works in LSI Logistics to explain to me how this is possible. He informed me that it’s not feasible for the customs to check every single container that comes into the ports and consequently the people who are importing these goods know that only a very small percentage will be seized and that presents an acceptable cost to them. Obviously, there must be a solution to this problem especially when you consider that the cost of drug crime, which accounts for approximately 75% of all inmates in Irish prisons, runs to €1 billion plus per annum.
Now let us consider the scenario where we can reduce crime by 75% and also provide the Exchequer with the €2 billion that it is so desperately seeking. What t if the Government was to employ say for example, 5000 extra custom officials, they would probably be able to search every single container that came into Ireland. But, said Mister Cerasi, that would cause a huge backlog at the port of entry and consequently would not be acceptable. So, I suggest that the government would simply raise the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles by 5 km an hour and that will make up for the extra two minutes they spent having their containers checked!
So, think about it, no more illegal firearms being imported into the country, no more illicit drugs being imported into the country, 5000 extra jobs. And finally, an extra €2 billion going to the Exchequer. Bit of a no-brainer to me 🙂