App 'could detect' illegal cigarettes


Bar-codes on illegal cigarettes could be read by a smartphone app, giving gardaí, customers and retailers instant information on whether tax has been paid on the product.

That is the view of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, which has called on the Government to develop such an app for smartphones without delay.

Sales of illegal cigarettes are running at about 20 per cent of total cigarette sales, with a face value of some €900 million a year.

Newsagents want additional measures taken against the sale of cigarettes smuggled into Ireland. These cigarettes frequently come from other European countries.

At a meeting last night, the retailers discussed the problem of illegal sales in the context of preparing a submission to the Government on the forthcoming budget.

A spokeswoman for the retailers said other issues that should be addressed include a guarantee that any sale of the National Lottery would include a condition that retailers’ commission of 6 per cent be maintained at least at this level.

The spokeswoman said such a guarantee had been given verbally by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, but the retailers wanted this assurance in a formal context.

Retailers also want to see VAT on newspapers reduced to levels pertaining in Northern Ireland. The spokeswoman said this was a key issue in Border areas with customers crossing the Border to buy newspapers and subsequently buying a range of other items there, too.