Editor’s Note: There is nothing new about cigarette smuggling, or its causes.
From: Teitrim Oberserver
1950 – Gold in the hills of Leitrim
There’s gold in the hills of Leitrim, gold in the shape of cigarettes and tobacco. Thanks to the Government’s decision to lift cigarette and pipe tobacco quota restrictions, many Leitrim folk are getting rich at the smuggling racket. Leitrim is one county in Ireland where sales of pipe tobacco are saoring, a traveller told a “Times Pictorial” reporter.
“But”, he said “local people don’t give the impression of smoking pipes more vigorously, seeing that tobacco is no cheaper.” Cigarette sales are climbing steeply. Now that you can get as much tobacco as you want in country districts which have not yet been found by Cross Channel visitors and Six-County tourists, the demand is keen. It is expected that the Exchequer revenue from tobacco will be greater by at least half a million pounds in the next Budget accounting. With cigarettes costing one penny each in the Twenty-Six counties and two pence each in the Six-counties, there is a fair penny profit to be made in tobacco smuggling which is well organised, said the traveller. There are points where a Customs patrol is never seen at night. It is at such places, after dark, that the apparently innocent, bulky looking man or woman crosses the Border for easy money.
Customs officials think that the cigarette and tobacco smuggling is largely in the hands of a well organised squads. They are never satisfied that the occasional captured person is working on his own. A striking feature is that persons caught red handed never seem to know the name of the man who gave them the stuff to smuggle. Smuggler bosses have put a tight gag on their helpers. Revenue Commissioners also use a gag – on themselves. They won’t talk about the extent of the smuggling. Meanwhile, tobacco manufacturing firms, which pay excise as cigarettes come tumbling from machines, are sending more and more money into the Exchequer.