News Ireland daily BLOG

Saturday 29th March 2014

A third have used pirated digital products in Ireland,

A survey finds


Illegal trade loses for the Irish State amount up to €946m says a report urging more intellectual property protection.

A third of consumers have knowingly acquired a pirated product, according to a new survey out today.

The findings are part of a Grant Thornton report which estimates that illicit trade in the Irish retail sector loses the Exchequer up to €946m and loses retailers and rights holders up to €587m.

This ranges from products such as fuel and tobacco to digital goods and pharmaceuticals. The estimated loss is 3% higher than last year because of a “limited government response and continued weak penalties for violation of the law”, the report says.

The loss to the Exchequer from digital piracy is €57m and is €260m to the rights holders and retailers, the report says.

Films were the most commonly acquired digitally pirated product (70 per cent)followed by music (56 per cent) and television series (34 per cent), the report’s survey found.

Cheapness was the most common reason for acquiring these products (70 per cent) with convenience coming second (42 per cent). Most consumers (80 per cent) thought such products were easy to acquire. A fifth of those surveyed did not care about the impact on legitimate business while a third cared “a little”.

The online survey conducted by Amárach included a representative population sample of 1000 people and a sample of 200 shops across the State.

The estimated loss to the Exchequer from illicit trade in tobacco was even higher than digital piracy than at up to €575m , with costs to retailers estimated at up to €122m.

Almost a quarter of consumers surveyed said they knowingly purchased illicit tobacco, the survey found . The greatest reason for the consumers to purchase tobacco was cheapness (83%) while a quarter of consumers said they knew someone selling it.

Three-quarters (75%) of Irish retailers believe their revenues have decreased as a result of illicit tobacco trade and also think the government response in the area is too little. Most retailers surveyed believed that government proposals to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes would increase illicit trade.

These proposals could “potentially send a negative signal about Ireland’s commitment to intellectual property rights protection”, the report says.

Ireland has the highest contribution from intellectual property intensive industries in the EU, at 50% of GDP and almost a quarter of total employment coming from such companies, the report finds.

“Digital piracy of movies, production of counterfeit CDs, smuggling of illicit tobacco and alcohol are all examples of IP abuse that hurt the Irish economy,” report author and Grant Thornton partner Brendan Foster said.

Because of this the defence of intellectual property rights should be central to government strategy and a “strong national framework of intellectual property protection is vital “, he said.

Even though just 6% of people surveyed knowingly purchased illegal fuel, the report estimates that the total loss to the economy was up to €466m, over half of that being loss in taxes. A fifth (20%) of those surveyed believed illegal fuel was as the same quality as legal but most thought it was difficult to buy.

Most retailers said organised crime was involved in fuel laundering and the report makes a link between illicit trade in fuel and tobacco and money laundering . “Money laundering allows these illegal proceeds to penetrate the legitimate financial system,” Mr Foster said.

Money laundering in Ireland is likely to range from €3.1bn to €7.8bn, the report estimates based on figures from the IMF.

“New threats such as the unregulated nature of payments with virtual currencies such as Bitcoin also pose new challenges to controlling what is a global problem.” Mr Foster said.

Cybercrime could be costing the Irish economy as much as €630m per year, the report, ’Illicit Trade: an Irish and Global Challenge’, finds. Cybercrime costs include online banking fraud , fake escrow scams and online payment fraud as well as costs to protections costs for businesses such as antivirus software.

The report finds that big data technologies are increasing the effectiveness of cybercrime attacks with organised criminals the drivers of cybercrime. Non-reporting of such crimes is a problem both in Ireland and globally, it says.

Daffodil Day Ireland 2014 a lot better than last year as the weather stays good


This years Daffodil Day in Ireland was a lot better than last year’s washout, but it is too soon to say if the Irish Cancer Society reached its €3.45m collection target.

“Things are looking a lot better than last year — there are a lot more notes, the coin bags are heavier and the money isn’t wet,” said the charity’s head of finance Niamh Ni Chonghaile.

The society said it is about 20pc behind 2012’s fund levels.

Daffodil Day is the charity’s biggest fundraiser, and volunteers from around the country took to the streets selling badges yesterday.

More than 400 children in St Finian’s National School in Newcastle,Dublin, formed a giant daffodil to raise funds for the society.

The giant flower was the brainchild of St Finian’s fifth-class pupil Fiachra Mooney whose mother, Mary, had breast cancer and received the all-clear last Wednesday.

Mark Mellett, head of fundraising for the charity, was particularly inspired by Fiachra’s idea, and gave the students’ effort a special shout-out yesterday evening as the money was being counted.

A Woman (34) dies in Sligo city house blaze


Technical examination of scene at Aylesbury Park to be carried out by gardaí today

Gardaí in Co Sligo are investigating a house fire in which a woman died last night.

Gardaí in Co Sligo are investigating a house fire in which a woman died last night.

The incident occurred at White Strand View, Aylesbury Park in Sligo town.

The emergency services were called to the house at about 9.20pm. Gardaí believe that the blaze broke out in the upstairs of the property.

A woman (34) was pronounced dead at the scene. Her remains were removed to Sligo Regional Hospital where a post mortem is to be carried out.

The two other occupants of the house, a boy (3) and male (18), were not injured during the incident.

A technical examination of the scene is to be conducted today.

Irish Kidney Association pleas for more organ donors this year


The Irish Kidney Association is urging people to carry Organ Donor cards as the organisations awareness week gets underway today.

The group says a record number of organ transplants were carried out last year – 294 organs were transplanted in 2013 through living and deceased organ donation.

Pat O’Sullivan from Mallow, Co. Cork, is waiting for a kidney transplant since 2012.

He explains that an organ transplant would “make a massive difference” to him.

A ring around the asteroid Chariklo makes for a surprise discovery by Scientists


Silly asteroid, rings are for Saturn! Not anymore. Astronomers have discovered an asteroid hosting a ring system of its very own.

A faraway asteroid named Chariklo is traveling through space with two unusual companions: a couple of dense, narrow rings. The discovery came as quite a surprise. Multiple sites around South America, including the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, observed the extraordinary feature.

“This is the smallest object by far found to have rings, and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune — to have this feature,” the European Southern Observatory noted in a release about the find. There is no definitive answer as to how the rings got there, but scientists speculate they may have been created from a debris field caused by an impact, along with ice.

Icy Chariklo orbits the sun between Saturn and Uranus. One of its rings is just over four miles wide, while the other ring is just under two miles wide, making them quite slim. The rings were found during a routine observation as the asteroid passed in front of a star.

“We weren’t looking for a ring and didn’t think small bodies like Chariklo had them at all, so the discovery — and the amazing amount of detail we saw in the system — came as a complete surprise!” says Felipe Braga-Ribas, the lead author of a paper on the find published in the journal Nature.

Chariklo is named for a mythological nypmh who was married to a centaur. The rings have been given their own nicknames, Oiapoque and Chuí, after two rivers located in Brazil. The presence of the rings may indicate the asteroid also has a small moon, or that the rings could eventually form into a moon. It’s likely Chariklo isn’t done surprising us yet.


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