At the beginning of any year, the previous year’s activities appear in numbers.
The Journal.ie informs us about some of these. "Revenue officials seized a total of €49.3 million worth of drugs in 2012. Cocaine and heroin made up the vast majority of the drug seizures, accounting for €33 million worth of seizures. Just over €50 million worth of illegal tobacco was seized throughout the year, including 95.6 million cigarettes".
The ridiculous irony in those numbers is that the illegal substances were outdone by the legal substances. What is even worse from the Government's point of view is that only about ten per cent of smuggled goods are apprehended. It would suggest that the market for illegal tobacco in Ireland stands at around €500bn per annum.
I respectfully suggest that ten years ago, before the start of this unnecessary war on smokers, the illicit trade in tobacco was probably worth less than a million a year. Simply put, the so-called war included falsely driving up the price of tobacco to the point where the smugglers flourished.
That particular genie will not be easily put back in the bottle and I confidently predict that revenue from tobacco products for Michael Noonan will now begin to fall, leading to ward closures by the HSE. Meanwhile, the fat charities will announce that the fall in revenue is due to their hate-filled messages finally getting through.
Crazy, isn't it ?