Commenting on this morning’s Garda seizure of a large cigarette and alcohol bottling factory in Knockbridge Co. Louth, local Fianna Fáil TD and Spokesperson on Cross Border Bodies, Declan Breathnach TD has said, “In the very first instance I wish to commend the good work of An Garda Síochána and the Northern Ireland Regional Armed Response Unit together with the Department of Revenue in discovering this illegal warehouse.

“Investigations are ongoing and I do sincerely hope that those behind this illegal operation can be identified and prosecuted. Uncovering this plant, which has potentially cost the exchequer in the region of €25million will only send a strong message to others involved in similar criminality if we locate those directly involved.

“I remain optimistic that the co-ordinated, intelligence led response from Gardaí and Revenue will deliver on identifying the individuals at the centre of this. Although, many locally will tell you that it can be deeply frustrating that while warehouse owners can conveniently turn a blind eye to what is being carried out in their property, under existing legislation they cannot be found to be in any way responsible for the illegal operations ongoing in their premises.

“My own community of Knockbridge is a small, rural village close to the border and it appears some have been willing to take advantage of that. This morning’s seizure is certainly not reflective of the majority of decent people living in the vicinity. At this point in time I urge anyone with information related to this discovery to contact Gardaí in the locality,” he concluded.