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Duty-free shopping for passengers travelling between Ireland and UK to return in event of no-deal Brexit


Shoppers in the Duty Free store at Heathrow’s Terminal 1 (PA)

Shoppers in the Duty Free store at Heathrow’s Terminal 1 (PA)

Shoppers in the Duty Free store at Heathrow’s Terminal 1 (PA)

Duty-free shopping will be allowed for people flying or sailing between Ireland and the UK after a no deal Brexit, it has been announced.

It could mark the return of the so-called ‘booze cruise’ where day-trippers take the boat to the UK in order to stock up on cheap alcohol and cigarettes.

The price of a packet of 20 cigarettes will be as little as €3 for people travelling from the UK into the Republic of Ireland.

Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed the move on foot of decisions taken in the UK today.

He said Excise and VAT free sales on purchases of tobacco and alcohol made at duty-free shops, subject to quantitative purchase limits, will be allowed if a Brexit deal is not achieved.

This may be an unexpected upside of the UK’s exit for consumers but it will impact on money available to the Government through taxation.

It comes after UK Chancellor Sajid Javid revealed that he intends to reintroduce duty-free shopping for passengers travelling to EU countries if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31.

In these circumstances, the UK will assume the status of a ‘third country’ in terms of their trading relationship with the EU.

The Dail had passed legislation that would have allowed for duty-free shopping to remain outlawed – but on foot of the UK decision it will not now be implemented.

Duty free shopping will not apply to passenger travel on the island of Ireland, between North and South and there will be no duty-free regime for passenger travel between the two jurisdictions on the island.

In a statement, Mr Donohoe said: “The effect of the announcement by the UK Government today on the return of duty-free shopping between the UK and EU Member States means that Ireland in respecting our international obligations will, as intended, reciprocate the UK Government’s decision and facilitate duty-free purchases for passengers travelling from Ireland to UK ports and airports.

“Passengers to Ireland purchasing duty-free goods in the UK must adhere to the personal consumption limits set out in EU law.”