Speaking following the publication of the report by Retail Ireland, ‘Tackling the Black Market and Retail Crime’, which outlines the loss to the Exchequer due to the black market, or shadow economy, and retail crime, Fine Gael Dublin Mid West Deputy, Derek Keating, said eradicating illegal commercial activity is the responsibility not only of the authorities but of every individual citizen.
Tackling the black market and eradicating retail crime is everyone’s responsibility - Keating
“The findings of this report are startling as they suggest that the loss to the Exchequer annually from the black market and retail crime is a staggering €861 million. This is made up of fuel laundering, which is costing us €155 million every year; illegal tobacco sales which costs €526 million; shoplifting and theft which are estimated to be in the region of €110 million; and digital piracy and counterfeit goods largely making up the rest.
“While every effort has to be made on the part of the authorities to outlaw criminal activity such as this, it is incumbent on every single one of us to play our part in ensuring that the black market economy does not thrive during these straitened times.
“It has been suggested that the increase in retail crime has been caused by the recession and the economic difficulties facing people. One of the most shocking statistics in this report, as far as I am concerned, is that Ireland is ranked 11 th out of 22 countries in Europe for shop-lifting, with our employee theft rate listed as the highest in Europe. It must be remembered that shop-lifting and retail crime generally does not only cost individual stores; the reality is that we all pay the price for such crimes with commercial losses being reflected in higher prices at the till.
“For their part, retailers must ensure that consumers are not being driven into the arms of dodgy dealers and that they are getting value for money for their hard earned cash. The report suggests a reward for whistleblowers whose reporting of illegal activity results in a summary conviction which could go a long way to eradicating much black market activity.
“There is a commitment in the Programme for Government to introduce whistleblower legislation and to provide protection to those who expose wrongdoings. TheProtected Disclosure in the Public Interest Bill 2012 will provide whistleblower protection for all sectors of the economy, for the first time ever, which will be a significant step forward to allowing people to report misconducts, for which we all pay.”