The days of cheap booze and fags come to an end as Europe calls time on duty free shopping.

Duty free shopping ends across the EU at midnight tonight, ending over fifty years of cheap shopping for air and sea travellers. In 1947 the first ever duty free shop opened in Shannon Airport. As time went on, the novel idea of selling alcohol and cigarettes to international travellers became popular worldwide.

The Revenue Commissioners were less than impressed, says journalist Arthur Quinlan, 

They thought there’d be international smuggling.

European Union open market regulations and harmonisation of taxes at the borders of member states meant that the days of duty free shopping were numbered. Various groups in Ireland and Europe have warned of revenue losses and job cuts.  

Member of the European Parliament John Cushnahan says Ireland will feel the impact of the end of duty free shopping. He predicts a twenty per cent rise in the cost of ferry and air travel,

That will damage our tourist industry.

There will not be gaping holes on airport shop shelves overnight, as people travelling outside of the EU can still avail of duty free shopping. For the majority however,

The days of the cheap booze and fags are truly over.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 30 June 1999. The reporter is Cathy Halloran.