12 billion cigarettes out of the economy

Interesting intervention by Ian Paisley in Westminster yesterday:

…for every man, woman and child in Ulster, £80 from the economy is stolen by paramilitaries. Some £140 million a year goes into the pockets of the paramilitaries, and £245 million is lost each year as a result of fuel-laundering rackets. The latter problem is so great that one of the leading fuel companies, Shell, has pulled out of Northern Ireland. Moreover, 6 per cent. of all cigarettes sold in Northern Ireland are illegal; that 6 per cent. consists of imported and counterfeit cigarettes. Such illegal activity takes 12 billion cigarettes out of the economy every year.

  • Bilko

    What about the drugs Ian, or even the racketeering and prostitution? Sorry, I forgot it the unionist paramilitaries that indulge in that sort of crime. Do Ian’s comments indicate there is a hierarchy of crime as in some crimes or more criminal than others?

  • Donnie

    Aye let’s not forget Ian’s constituents in the drug hell that is Ballymena and Antrim.

  • Betty Boo

    Now were you mention it, I never read or saw a breakdown of who is doing how much of what.

  • wild turkey

    ‘Such illegal activity takes 12 billion cigarettes out of the economy every year.’

    isn’t taking 12 billion cigarettes out of the economy a serious kickass preventive health measure?

    or is the doctor referring to the revenue lost to the british exchequer?

    in any event, dr presley cites very precise statistics. Sources?

    are these stats contained in the IMC report?

  • 12 billion is 12 thousand million, right?

    If that’s the case, that means that cigarette consumption per capita in Northern Ireland is about 20 a day. And that’s only illegal cigarettes!

    If we were to include all cigarettes smoked, you’re talking 330-odd fags a day for every man, woman and child.

    Not a bit of wonder Northern Ireland has the highest rates of heart disease in the world. Strike a light!

    Then again, he could be referring to the British economy. How boring.

  • Is the light so dim in Ulster that it cannot be seen that the clear failure of leadership in both communities is responsible.
    where homes are warm and mothers sigh
    where comedians laugh and babies cry
    where criminals are televised politicians fraternize
    journalists are dignified and everyone is civilised
    and children stare with Heroin eyes.

  • micheal

    Ian mor’s grasp of figures seems to be slipping. If 12 billion cigarettes represent 6% of those smoked in NI then based on the 2001 census totals that means that every man woman and child smokes 325 cigarettes a day or 5.4 per hour.

  • Betty Boo


    Enjoyed you post immensely. It really sums it up. Counting doesn’t seem to be the DUP’s strong side.

  • DK

    Must have meant 12 million – which would be 0.3 cigarettes per person per day (legal + illegal), which sounds too low now.

    If cigarette smokers are 20% of the total population of 1.8 million & each smokes 20 a day, that would equate to 2,628 million cigarettes per year. 6% of this is 157 million.

    Now I’m confused.

  • micheal

    There is some good news. Based on a GDP of $29600 (per capita) and a current exchange rate of $1.727 to the pound sterling and furthermore assuming that the entire GDP is used to purchase cigarettes; the average cost of a packet of twenty cigarettes in NI is only £2.88.

  • smcgiff

    Shell/Statoil and probably others are also pulling out of the Republic.

  • Betty Boo

    Because they are not allowed to smoke at the petrol station?


    I thought Paisley always wanted to have fewer fags circulating in NI 😉

  • It could be Hansard of course.


    “…isn’t taking 12 billion cigarettes out of the economy a serious kickass preventive health measure?”

    Hmmm… well even without knowing the unofficial black market retail price, I would doubt that very much… 🙂

  • Why

    He goes on to state: He learned, along with me, that in Europe it is important to have one’s photograph taken, but he is not in Europe now and—thank God—nor am I.

    What a visionist.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Why, (Sounds like a type of data transfer)


    Do you not mean visionary? If so, maybe you should rethink the old Europe thing…

  • bean counter

    Big Ian’s interest in cigarettes is because the Gallaghers factory is in Ballymena.

  • George

    Are paramilitaries responsible for all crime in Northern Ireland now or is there no criminals there?

  • Aidan

    Nothern Ireland – where crime is the most organized in the world.

  • Ultonian Scottis American

    Gallaghers bought Sobranie out a few years back. Sobranie made the world’s finest cigarette, a ten-to-a-tin non-filter.

    Unfortunately, Gallaghers shut down Sobranie. So to hell with them.

  • Brendan, Belfast

    Good man / woman spirit level.

    a bit of Mike Scottism is what this site was lacking!

    Old Northern Ireland is dying….

  • Brendan, man
    yeah mike scott for president 🙂