An organisation representing solid fuel merchant in Ireland has called for Government action to stem smuggling of coal into the country.
Solid Fuel Merchants Ireland (SFMI) claims coal worth €56m is illegally brought into Ireland from Northern Ireland and sold here every year
The body has called for additional enforcement measures to deal with the those selling the product.
SFMI says the situation is leading not only threatening the viability of the solid fuel industry but is also resulting in lost tax revenue.
In the north VAT is charged at a lower rate than it is here and there is also no carbon tax in place.
This allows some sellers here to sell the illegally imported coal at a lower rate than law abiding suppliers here.
The exchequer revenue lost on the coal sold without correct taxes being paid on it is estimated to be in the region of €16m a year.
SFMI claims most of the illegal solid fuel is being sold online through social media and those struggling with the high current cost of living are being lured to buy it.
It says local authorities, Revenue and An Garda Síochana need to clamps down on the smuggling and ensure the current rules are enforced properly.