New Revenue mobile X-ray scanner targets smuggling

Today (15/06/17) at the New Custom House in Dublin Port, Niall Cody, Revenue Chairman, formally commissioned Revenue’s new, state of the art, mobile x-ray scanner. The new scanner cost €1.668m and was part-funded by a grant of €750,000 from OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Agency, under its Hercule III Programme. Accompanied by his fellow Board members, Commissioners Liam Irwin and Gerry Harrahill, the Chairman expressed the thanks of the Revenue Board to OLAF, for their financial support in the acquisition of the new scanner.

Speaking of Revenue’s role in safeguarding Ireland’s fiscal, social and economic welfare, Mr. Cody said that as global trade volumes continue to grow every year, Revenue’s challenge is to target and confront shadow economy activity, including fiscal fraud, fuel fraud, cash and tobacco smuggling, and drug trafficking, while at the same time facilitating the free flow of legitimate trade.

Acknowledging “increasingly agile and sophisticated” concealment techniques, the Revenue Chairman said that the new mobile scanner is the most powerful currently available on the market and uses imaging technology to analyse vehicles as well as shipping containers. Mr Cody said that it will enable Revenue “to identify suspicious consignments quickly and efficiently, with minimum impact on legitimate trade.”

Addressing an audience that included Garda Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll, and Commandant Michael Curran, Mr. Cody said that Revenue works at a national level in collaboration with An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces and the Naval Service and engages at an international level in on-going actions aimed at intercepting and preventing drug trafficking, fuel fraud and the flow of smuggled tobacco and cash. Mr. Cody thanked his colleagues, both domestic and international, for their continued support, stressing that “the importance of inter-agency cooperation cannot be underestimated”.

The Revenue Chairman spoke of a drug market that continues to be one of the most profitable areas for organised crime groups operating in the European Union, and globally, and said that the illicit tobacco problem is also very much a global one. Referring to the effectiveness of inter-agency collaboration at national and international levels, Mr Cody referred to Revenue’s joint operation with An Garda Síochána earlier this year, a collaboration that resulted in the seizure of herbal cannabis worth €37.5 million that had been destined for the Irish market. The Revenue Chairman identified action against fuel fraud as a particularly good example of close cooperation between jurisdictions, and said that Revenue and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs had worked very closely together on the introduction of the new fuel marker, Accutrace S10. This, he said, was central to the success of Revenue’s comprehensive strategy to combat fuel fraud.  

Revenue’s strategy is to target fiscal fraud, fuel fraud, and the supply of illicit drugs and tobacco products, with a view to disrupting the supply chain, seizing the illicit products and prosecuting those responsible. The new scanner is the latest tool in Revenue’s fight against smuggling and was deployed in Dublin Port earlier this year.

Ends: 15/06/17