Ireland Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Ireland’s black market. Intelligence and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.

Customs officials in Ireland broke up a counterfeit vodka operation that was managed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that is estimated to have been a multimillion euro moonshine operation.

In a raid by Custom agents, nearly 1110,000 bottles caps, 400,000 fake labels of popular vodka brands, 500 cardboard boxes and a bottling plant was seized in May 2014.

Intelligence officials state that the IRA is potentially bringing in fake alcohol from Eastern Europe, and is filling up empty bottles with counterfeit alcohol. IRA members collected empty spirit bottles from bars and pubs across Ireland and bring them back to the operations center. There, the bottles are washed and the new labels and bottle tops are attached. The new fake bottles of vodka are then sold to bar owners and vendors across Ireland and the United Kingdom. The moonshine bottles, known as Provo vodka, is readily available across Northern Ireland and is often sold at places where smuggled cigarettes are also available.

The vodka labels discovered by security officials included Smirnoff and Stolichnaya.

Source:  Jim Cusack, “IRA moonshine operation smashed by Customs officers,” Independent, May 25, 2014.

According to a former heroin abuser in Ireland, the following information is the street prices of illegal drugs available for sale on the black market of Ireland.

Cocaine:  High quality cocaine sold for €100 ($138) per gram.

Ecstasy: €5 ($6.93) per tablet, or 10 ecstasy tablets for €40 ($55).

Heroin: A bag of heroin that is filled with 0.3 grams of heroin is sold for €20 ($27). The price to buy 2 grams of heroin is €100 ($138).

Marijuana: Poor quality cannabis resin is reportedly sold in 7 gram batches, which is available for purchase for €25 ($34). Marijuana weed is sold in 6 gram units, which goes for €100 ($138).

Prescription drugs: 2 milligrams Xanax bars sold for €3.50 ($4.85) for each tablet.

(See all of reported data about the black market here.)

Source:  User submitted data, received on April 1, 2014.

According to a report by Grant Thornton, cybercrime activities costs the economy of Ireland up to $822 Million (€600 Million) per year.

The number of security data breaches reported in 2012 increased by 32 percent when compared to the previous year. Officials with the Data Protection Commissioner state that the number of data breaches reported to criminal justice programs is likely underreported due to concerns about reputation damages.

55 percent of the cybercrime that targets Ireland is through the work of transnational organized crime rings and are based in foreign nations.

Source:  “Cybercrime costs Irish economy €630m a year,” RTE News, April 3, 2014.


A report published by the European Commission found that up to $344 Million (€250 Million) in revenue is generated from sex trafficking in Ireland each year. (Note: This amount is the same amount that was reported last year as the total revenue generated from prostitution in Ireland.)

An estimated 1,000 women are available for sale due to human trafficking in Ireland at any given moment, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

Based on surveys of customers of the sex trade, around 92 percent of the men who visit prostitutes are over the age of 45. The men also earn over $27,000 (€20,000) in wages per year.

(More prices of human trafficking victims around the world.)

Source:  “Sex-buyers mostly well-educated, 42yrs+ men in relationships, study finds,” Irish Examiner, March 27, 2014.

In the first ten months of 2013, authorities in Ireland seized 929 liters of counterfeit alcohol across the country. In 2012, the number of fake alcohol bottles  that were seized total 232. Vodka was reported to be the most counterfeited bottle in 2013.

Criminal justice programs state that counterfeiters use legitimate alcohol bottles when making counterfeits. The real bottles are taken from recycling centers or directer from bars and pubs. The bottles are then filled with raw alcohol and then diluted with water to achieve a 37.5 to 40 percent alcohol by volume.

Although bootleg alcohol seizures increased in 2013, the number of cigarette packs seized from the black market decreased in Ireland. In 2012, a total of 95 million cigarettes were seized across Ireland. In 2013, the number of smuggled cigarettes seized decreased to 37.7 million.

Source:  Kitty Holland, “Bootleg alcohol seizures rise dramatically,” Irish Times, December 28, 2013.

Women from at least 32 different countries were working as prostitutes in Ireland in 2012, according to an outreach support organization. Most of the migrant women were working at indoor brothels.

In 2011, women from 31 different countries were identified as prostitutes in Ireland.

(Number of prostitutes by country.)

Source:  “Working prostitutes from 32 nations,” Independent, November 7, 2013.

Criminal justice officials in Ireland reported that 45 people were identified in 2012 as being trafficked into the country.

31 of the human trafficking victims were women. 23 of the victims were children.

Out of the total number of victims, 39 were trafficked for sexual exploitation,  with the remaining six victims trafficked for labor purposes.

In 20111, authorities identified 57 human trafficking victims in Ireland. From 2010 to 2012, there were over 200 victims identified.

Source: “45 people, including 23 children, were trafficked into Ireland last year,”, September 27, 2013.

According to criminal justice departments in Ireland,  a prostitution ring operated by Romanians is controlling the prostitution trade in the city of Limerick, Ireland.

The ring was charging customers between $107 to $133 (€80 to €100) for a half-hour of sex when the customers booked online. When women were soliciting customers on the streets of Limerick, the going rate for a half hour of sex was between $40 to $66 (€30 – €50).

The prostitutes are reportedly able to make anywhere from $669 to $$1,338 (€500 to €1,000) a night. The girls are able to keep roughly 20 percent of the revenue, with the rest being used to pay for accommodations and profits sent to the leaders of the ring.

(More prices charged by prostitutes worldwide.)

Source:  Kathryn Hayes, “Romanians behind city vice racket,” Independent, August 25, 2013.

Between January and July 2013, authorities in Ireland seized 840 liters of counterfeit alcohol across the country.

Officials state that most of the organized crime groups involved in the production of counterfeit alcohol also are invovled in cigarette smuggling.

Source:  “‘Unscrupulous pub owners’ selling dangerous counterfeit alcohol,” Journal, August 6, 2013.

A Chinese national who was directing children to human trafficking groups was reportedly being paid up to $394 (€300) for each child that he provided.

(More earnings from the underground economy.)

Source:  “Human trafficking ‘fixer’ was paid €300 per child,” Irish Examiner, July 19, 2103.