of COWBOYS,SHEEP SHAGGERS ,AND LARRY GOODMAN.
European Economic Union subsidies- related frauds, and scams, in the agriculture sector are reported to be costing the European taxpayers billions of Euros every year. Thanks again for that Bertie.Another pint?.
Ireland has no monopoly in the picture,the Italians and the French,among others are players too,but Fianna Fail backed cowboys have brought scamming the European taxpayer to a fine art.
There never was or will be again-so bizarre a saga of events in the history of the Irish State as ,the beef related scams, which cost the Irish taxpayers many millions in tribunal investigation costs;Brussels fines ;and E.U. recompensation, for the misdeeds of thousands of farmers and businessmen alike.Many of them reliable contributors to the Soldiers of Destiny re election funds.
The roguery culminated in the Beef Tribunal,chaired by the late Judge Liam Hamilton.
Liam found that deception,involving fraudulent claims for E.U.intervention beef was widespread and systematic throughout the business empire.storage plants and beef processing factories owned by members of the inner circle of friends of Fianna Fail,and particularly,those of one, Larry Goodman.
Although thousands of minor functionaries accepted that they were only following orders, in Mr Goodmans meat plants,Mr Goodman knew nothing at all about the crooked activities of thousands of his employees.!
His Empire was so large-and in hock to so many banks-that he was rescued from ruin-and prospers to this very day.He is a big player in todays Irish property market and one of his latest investments involves a new private hospital ,in the west of Ireland.Larry has gone into the health care business.
"Bring me your sick,-not your poor taxpayer-only those with hard cash,and I will cure them !"
(Doctor Larry Goodman.!)
Some of the evidence of the mammoth beef scams was hastily destroyed.The United Meat Packers factory in Ballaghadereen,county Roscommon,was for example, fortuitously burned to the ground in a mysterious fire,in 1992,only days before a posse of E.E.C. investigators were about to carry out an investigation into alleged irregularities in the plant.
The Department of Agriculture had previously fined U.M.P. almost two million Euros over these irregularities,none of which was disclosed to the Insurance companies who were asked to pick up the tab.
On discovering these facts,it comes as no surprise that they refused to pay, given the suspicious circumstances surrounding the conflagration.
Legal proceedings have been in progress for ten years.
In 2002 the case was settled and the Irish taxpayer lost 34 million Euros,as a result of the Department of Agriculture capitulation.
The Irish taxpayer compensated Brussels for all of the destroyed beef. 34 million Euros.The Irish taxpayer also paid an extra 22 million Euros in interest charged on the original cost of the fire. A further 13 million Euros is still in dispute between the Dept of Agriculture and the E.U. as the value of the beef was revalued following the fire.? On and on it goes.
The Fianna Fail Farmers Merrygoround.Dung,dollops of dosh and Disneyland all combined.
The debacle earned fortunes for many of the best connected(friends of Fianna Fail) lawyers in the Irish Legal Profession.As does the current Mahon Tribunal.
More recently ,we have happily been spared a Sheep Tribunal.
During the last foot and mouth disease outbreak,an estimated 50 farmers in the Cooley Mountains had been claiming E.U. subsidies(premium payments) for thousands of sheep which did not exist.When department officials arrived to slaughter the animals-they were nowhere to be found.!It is not known if any of the fraudently obtained money was ever recovered,but what is certain is that not one of the culprits was ever prosecuted.Compare this ,with the heavy hand of the law which comes down on a bowsey or Dublin Gurrier caught claiming social welfare-or the like- fraudently.
None other than Minister Michael McDowell, our new Minister for Justice(2003) passionately spoke out (when he was in opposition of course ) about the unequal application of the law of the land. A rather pompous play to the crowd it was -highly amusing now when read well after the event,especially since he is currently Fianna Fail's 'Minister for Injustice'.!
In the Dail debate,September 1994, on the Beef Tribunal ,which found that among the many abuses uncovered was a huge and systematic tax evasion scheme within one of Irelands largest companies,-Goodman International- Mr McDowell had stirring words to say.A champion of the people.!
His Mantra ,which follows,has since been repeated ad nauseam many times in one form or another. Who cares for empty rhetoric in the moral vacuum of Irish Political life.
"Will any of the top brass in the Goodman organization,darken the District Court door?" he commented.
"Will any of them spend a night in jail and hang their Armani suit on the back of the cell door in Mountjoy?.They will not. Not a single person will be brought to account for the most substantial and highly organized tax evasion in this country."
"I have seen poor individuals whose dishonesty has led them to be prosecuted and imprisoned for diddling the dole(unemployment relief).
I would wait with baited breath to hear one word of criticism of the Goodman organization from some senior source in Fianna Fail.
We have never heard it and I dare say we never will because they have been bought and stay bought.They know that Goodman knows where the bodies are buried.They dare not even rebuke this man because they know that he has information on them and he would bring them down like a group of skittles if the truth ever emerged!"
Stirring stuff from mad mullah Mcdowell....
Larry then proceed to sue the government for loss and damage to his reputation!! ( Larry always reaches for his Lawyer-not his sixgun.) The fastes lawyerslinger in town was Larry.!
He recently dropped his case however, when the winds of public opinion sent his pal in property speculation-Liam Lawlor to Mountjoy Jail for a brief stay to assist his memory loss,and incooperative stance when he appeared before the more recent Moriarity/Mahon Tribunal enquiry into corruption in public life.
(Liam of course is now with the angels..)
One can be sure that Larry Goodman did not eventually drop his audacious multi-million euro lawsuit (which followed the Tribunals deliberations) against the Government,because he thought he had such a good case.
Some of his closest associates and political allies, were themselves in the dock
The Government could have pursued him for its costs,but Joe taxpayer shouldered the bills, as always.
History would suggest that Bertie was right to steer clear of that squabble, because beef related difficulties have brought about the early political demise of most of his Fianna Fil predecessors.
It was Albert Reynolds' testimony at the beef tribunal that brought down his first government in November 1992. Faced with what amounted to a perjury accusation, O'Malley had no real option but to bring down the Government. The same tribunal also played a major part in poisoning relations in the next Government as well. Following the release of the beef tribunal report, Reynolds rushed into print claiming "total vindication", without giving his Labour colleagues a chance to digest the report. Trust between Reynolds and Dick Spring was so badly undermined that day that it was only a matter of time before another incident brought down the Government.
Charlie Haughey was forced to step down in early 1992 by the re-opening of the telephone tapping scandal, but this was just the last straw. He had to go because of a series of business scandals, in which the events leading to the Beef Tribunal played a major role.
Albert and Charlie were not the only Fianna Fail leaders who got into cowboy trouble, however. Beef problems also hastened the departures of both Sen Lemass and Jack Lynch, and played no small part in undermining the ambitions of George Colley.
Lemass stepped down in 1966 during of a bitter dispute over beef prices with the National Farmers' Association (NFA), the forerunner of the IFA. His difficulties were exacerbated by the fact that his Minister for Agriculture was his son-in-law, Charles Haughey.
The EEC had closed its doors to Irish cattle that April and this was compounded by a dock strike in Britain, which meant that the main markets were closed to Irish beef 80% of which was for export. When the dock strike ended, Irish cattle were dumped on the British market and prices tumbled.
Haughey told farmers to hold on to their cattle to allow prices to rise, but Rickard Deasy, the president of the NFA, advised them to sell as prices were going to fall further. When RTÉ reported this, Haughey was indignant and he telephoned the news department.
"I felt compelled in the public interest to protest that the NFA statement should be carried immediately after mine," Haughey explained.
"I gave specific advice to farmers in reply to questions from deputies in the Dail as the responsible minister, and I felt that to have my advice followed by contradiction from an organisation could only lead to confusion and damage the industry."
They were an uppity crowd in RTE in those days, weren't they? Imagine having the nerve to contradict the advice of a minister! But when the little fella called, they got into a funk.
The item was dropped from further broadcasts. Questions were asked in the Dail about this blatant piece of news management and Haughey came across in all of his arrogance as he argued that RTÉ was wrong to air advice that contradicted him.
"I think it was a very unwise thing to say the least of it, for Radio Telefis Eireann to follow that solemn advice of mine, given as Minister for Agriculture, with a contradiction by one organisation," he said.
This almost caused a strike at RTE. Little over a week later the NFA set out from various centres on a march to Dublin. Deasy walked 210 miles from Bantry. People joined the march on the way and some 30,000 farmers arrived in Merrion Square for a protest meeting on October 19, 1966.
This was the forerunner to the recent tractor cavalcade, but the "poor farmers" in 1966 walked to Dublin, while the latest crowd rode on expensive tractors demonstrating their poverty by exhibiting their wealth.
The 1966 protest was much more effective. After the rally in Merrion Square, nine of the leaders went to the Department of Agriculture to protest, but Haughey refused to meet them, so they camped outside on the steps, insisting that they would stay there for a month, if necessary, until the minister met them.
As this dispute got worse, Lemass announced that he was stepping down as Taoiseach. He was planning to go soon anyway, but the dispute forced his hand.
Thirteen years later, in December 1979, Jack Lynch also decided to go earlier than he had planned. He was essentially pushed by the so-called gang of five. One of them, Tom McEllistrim Jnr (whose father actually proposed Lynch for Taoiseach in 1966) was adamant that their real motive was not to oust Lynch, or even elect Haughey, but to prevent George Colley getting the job.
IN his budget earlier that year, Colley, as Minister for Finance, had tried to introduce a 2% levy on the earnings of farmers.!
The levy was to apply not only to money paid for cattle but also milk, cereals and vegetables.
Joe Rea, the president of the IFA, denounced the proposal as "absolutely outrageous". Even though farmers were still being asked to pay less than half the rate of tax of the PAYE sector, he said that they would not pay the levy, because it took no account of the individual farmer's ability to pay. Poorer Traditionally, richer farmers tended to support Fine Gael, which had antagonised its supporters by bringing in income tax for the wealthier farmers during the previous Government. Then Fianna Fil irked its own supporters among the small farmers by trying to tax them.
Amid the ensuing uproar the Government backed down, which provoked even more outrage among PAYE taxpayers. They organised a series of protest marches around the country.
On March 11, 1979, some 50,000 people marched at a rally organised in Dublin by the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, and there were other marches in various urban centres.
Colley had antagonised the farmers by trying to introduce the levy, and the PAYE workers by dropping it.
farmers would have to pay the same 2% levy as the rich.
Lynch wanted Colley as his successor, but the gang of five were determined to block him. It was in an attempt to prevent them from organising properly that Lynch allowed Colley and Martin O'Donoghue to persuade him to step down early and call a snap meeting to elect his successor with just two days' notice. But they got it wrong, because Haughey was already better organised. Truth was, they couldn't have organised a piss up in a brewery.
When the Goodman cowboys backed down , it was an indication that the centre of power has shifted in Irish politics. Larry's former mouthpiece in the Dail, Liam Lawlor, no longer enjoys his former influence. Times have changed,-a little at any rate.The Soldiers of Destiny are looking over their shoulders more than ever before.
The way things are going,Liam Lawlor and his old Dublin West constituency colleague, Joe Higgins, could be some day,sharing a cell together.? Don,t hold your breath.
Losses at the British arm of Larry Goodman's meat business increased six-fold last year, despite a 9 per cent increase in sales to stg£455.3 million (€672.8 million).
And now December 2005-a newsflash.!
Bogus health tags found after swoop on two meat plants .!
THE Consumers' Association reacted with alarm in December 20005 to the discovery that bogus health stamps have been found in Irish meat plants.
The revelation smacks of practices more common before the Beef Tribunal, the association said.
Yesterday the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) announced that they have seized sheets of labels with illicit health marks at M&N Meats Ltd, Corbrack, Ballybay, Co Monaghan.
They have also confiscated records from a second company in the town, D'Arcy Foods, which they are now examining as part of a major cross-border probe into the alleged illegal repackaging, relabelling and distribution of meat and poultry.
Inspectors have also seized a consignment of beef from a third unnamed premises which they are checking to see if it has been stamped with illegal health marks.
The marks are supposed to show that meat has passed official food safety inspections, and indicate its country of origin.
The investigation was sparked after illegal chicken imports were discovered in Belfast that were shipped in from China despite an avian flu-related ban.
Subsequent inquiries there discovered illegal health marks being used at the company due to receive it, which supplies meat to the Irish market. The UK's Food Standards Agency (UKFSA) alerted the Irish authorities last month that meat from Euro Freeze (Ireland) Ltd in Lisnakea, Co Fermanagh had entered the Republic.