Plans for the abolition of inter European duty free sales could pose huge economic risks for Ireland and the European travel industry.

Ireland is synonymous with duty free. It was in Shannon fifty years ago that the first duty-free shop in the world was opened.

The Irish Duty Free Association and the Europen Travel Research Foundation have published a report by economic consultants Tansey Webster & Associates highlighting the impact of the planned abolition of duty free between European Union member states.

In 1992 the European Union set out plans to abolish duty free trade between member states in 1999. With £85 million worth of duty free sales in Irish airports, ferries and airlines in 1995, the report highlights the negative impact this abolition will have on the travel industry. 

Speaking to RTÉ News economic consultant Paul Tansey highlights the key findings of the report. According to the report, Irish transport operators will make much less money. Consumers will be hit by higher fares and by the fact that they will no longer be able to access duty free goods when travelling with the European Union. The abolition will also result in higher freight rates to Europe impacting on exporters. 

The report's author believes there are no practical reasons for the abolition of European duty free sales, only reasons of ideology.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 30 July 1997. The reporter is Geraldine Harney.