Memorandum submitted by the Legitimate
Oil Pressure Group
NOTES FOR MEETING WITH NORTHERN IRELAND AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE ON TUESDAY 12 JANUARY 1998
1. LOPG represents the whole Oil Industry and
is supported by all the main business institutions.
2. LOPG's sole objective is the stopping of
illegal fuel transactions (smuggling and "washing").
3. The trade will only stop with either:
(a) much closer duties between UK and RoI;
(b) concerted effort by the co-ordinated
forces of Customs and Excise, Inland Revenue and RUC.
4. The NI oil industry is reeling from the effects
of smuggling. At best, investment is being curtailed and at worst
many job losses and bankruptcies.
5. Of equal importance, we are silently condoning
the flow of £150 million to paramilitary organisations and
creating millionaire mobsters.
6. The prevalence of the problem is undermining
the fabric of the law-abiding population.
7. We present a number of questions for Government:
(a) Do they acknowledge the problem and its
(b) Is the political will there to tackle
(c) Does tackling the issues give rise to
accusations of "harassment" in border areas?
(d) Is Government perhaps content with NI
oil supplies coming via RoI?
(a) Tax harmonisationthere is a case
for NI being treated differently but this opens local political
criticismbut commercially might well be the right answer.
(b) Co-ordinated Action. Too often results
are not forthcoming due to the difficulty of individual Government
Departments and Agencies acting in a truly co-ordinated manner
to achieve a common goal. There must be a Task Force with executive
powers to co-ordinate action.
9. The Select Committee should be in no doubt
that this is a most serious issue. The Belfast Harbour privatisation
might be budgeted to raise £100 million to use on road improvements.
Collecting oil revenues could raise £100 million per annum
in the present circumstances.
12 January 1999