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Duty free-for-all as limit is ‘too hard to prove’

Holidaymakers returning to Ireland from trips to Europe can effectively bring back as much alcohol and cigarettes as they like, Revenue chiefs admitted yesterday.

People travelling abroad from the Republic are warned they can only bring back 800 cigarettes and 90 litres of wine with their holiday luggage.

But Josephine Feehily, head of the Irish Revenue Commissioners, told the Dail Public Accounts Committee that cigarettes bought within the EU already have their duty paid.

Ms Feehily said although there was a limit advertised at ports and airports, it would be extremely difficult for the Revenue Commissioners to prove in court that any number of cigarettes were not for someone's personal use.

A spokesman for the Revenue later confirmed the same applied to cheap alcohol bought in the EU. A person could say they were using the alcohol for a wedding, he added.

Ms Feehily said most large-scale smuggling was happening at ports around the country.

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