Fianna Fáil has launched a Bill today proposing the establishment of a cross-border, multi-agency taskforce to tackle fuel smuggling.  The agency would bring together all the statutory organisations responsible for detecting and policing the illicit fuel trade north and south of the border.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Border Region Development Brendan Smith TD commented, “Fuel smuggling and the criminal activity which runs in tandem with it is a cancer affecting many areas along the border.  It impacts communities north and south, posing not only an environmental threat, but also a severe criminal one by strengthening the dangerous and violent elements which are involved with this illegal trade.”

“The environmental consequences of fuel laundering has been widely reported in areas along the border.  The material produced as a consequence of removing green dye from diesel is highly toxic and has the potential to damage drinking supplies.  The industry also spawns broader criminality such as illicit cigarette smuggling.

“Our Bill, in proposing a cross-border multi-agency taskforce, builds on the work of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly, which recommended that more serious penalties, including lengthier custodial sentences for illicit activities, be imposed to make the island of Ireland more difficult for criminal gangs to operate.

“This legislation highlights a serious concern and puts forward a new cross-border framework to deal with it. The environmental, revenue and criminal consequences of fuel smuggling must be snuffed out at source. We hope all parties will support this measure to improve life in the border region”.