The Government plans to introduce 'plain packaging' carrying only graphic health warnings rather than the current brand designs will provide the smugglers with a massive boost in profits, customs and garda sources say.
They estimate that Border-based Provo smugglers are importing around €90m worth of tobacco products a year, mainly from the Far East. Based on the experience of Australia, the first and only country to bring in the plain packaging, they estimate the IRA-controlled trade here could boom to around €120m in value.Nice work if you can get it.
The daft plan is only a proposal in Ireland thus far. Of course, in the UK, Westminster's village idiot Jane Ellison has announced a vote on the matter - without telling half the cabinet - but the idea requires much more work yet in the Northern Irish Assembly.
Fortunately, though, a Sinn Féin MLA badgered on that very subject yesterday.
Mr McAleer asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety whether he is minded to introduce plain packaging as part of the tobacco directive.Well what a coincidence. Kerching!
How nice of Mr Cameron - who this week gave plain packs his backing - to compensate for the loss of 900 jobs in Antrim with a potential €30m per annum regeneration package on the borders.
No experience necessary, salary negotiable, full weapons training will be provided. What's not to like?