A full milk quota compliance verification audit at Glanbia by the Department of Agriculture has followed the Department’s investigation into last year’s allegations that milk collections from a milk supplier were credited to another milk supplier, and that this was facilitated by the milk purchaser concerned.
However, a prosecution is not being pursued, said Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney in the Dáil.
He was responding to a Dáil question from Martin Ferris, the Sinn Féin TD for Kerry North-West Limerick, who said a milk producer 110 miles away from the Clongowes Wood College farm in Co Kildare supplied 500,000 litres of milk to the College farm which in turn supplied Glanbia.
Mr Coveney said, “Having received the report on the investigation, I instructed that a number of corrective actions be undertaken by all parties concerned, including the re-allocation of milk to the original supplier and the payment of the superlevy fine by the supplier concerned.
“All such corrective actions were completed within the relevant milk quota year, and the end-of-year annual declaration for the milk producers concerned reflected the adjusted and correct position.”
He also instructed that the relevant papers be sent to the Chief State Solicitor’s office for advice on whether offences had been committed and, if so, the possibility and likelihood of a successful prosecution.
“Having regard to counsel’s opinion and to all the circumstances in this case, my Department recommended that a prosecution should not be pursued, and I accepted this recommendation.”
“In making its recommendation, my Department took a number of matters into account, including the likelihood of a successful prosecution given the details of the case and the standard of proof required, the fact there was no financial gain for any of the parties concerned, the fact the parties’ obligations under the milk quota regulations had ultimately been met, that all superlevies due were paid in full and, most important, that there was no financial loss to other farmers, the Exchequer or to the EU.”
“We have undertaken a full audit and got a full report from the processor concerned in terms of how this could have happened and to ensure it cannot happen again.”
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