Organised crime gangs generate €1.7BILLION a year in Ireland
An EU funded think tank has estimated that Organised Crime Gangs (OCGs) in Ireland generate a staggering €1.7billion a year.
The staggering amount of money is revealed in today's Irish Daily Star, and it shows the many lucrative illicit activities that OCGs engage in here.
In fact, so much money is generated that the illegal aspect of our economy is 1.1 per cent of our GDP, one of the highest percentages in the EU.
Drugs, of course, leads the way when it comes to the most lucrative activities for these gangs.
Heroin tops the list, with the market worth an estimated €623m a year, or over €1.7m A DAY.
Second is the underworld of counterfeit goods, from fake clothes to pirate DVDs. These are worth €456m a year to Irish gangs.
Third is tobacco smuggling, bringing in a cool €277m a year.
Cocaine is worth €90m a year, ecstasy is worth €30m a year, cannabis is worth €47m a year and amphetamines net gangs €16m a year.
Other countries with sizeable proportions of their GDP given over to crime include Bulgaria with 1.6 per cent, Cyprus with 1.9 per cent and Latvia with a whopping 2.8 per cent.
However, this report excludes fuel smuggling, which many estimate could be worth hundreds of millions to criminal gangs here so the total amount of cash OCGs generate here may be far higher than this report suggests.