Farm Ireland

Sunday 19 November 2017

Protesters barricade themselves into meat plant in repossession row

Tim Healy

A meat plant employee, who carries out euthanasia of cattle before slaughter, has been threatened not to turn up for work in a dispute about the take-over of the premises by a bank-appointed receiver, the High Court heard.

Mr Justice Tony O'Connor expressed concern about what he heard in relation to the Edenmore Farm Meats plant at Lifford in Donegal and said the Department of Agriculture, which approves the person who carries out the euthanasia, should be informed about what is happening there.  

He was concerned there may he health issues in relation to carcasses after he was told a number of people, including some associated with the 'New Land League' had allegedly illegally barricaded themselves into the plant.

He was speaking when he gave permission to AIB and its receiver Luke Charleton to serve at short notice proceedings against the former owner of the plant Liam McGavigan, his brother Ciaran, and Edenmore Farm Meats itself.   

The receiver is seeking orders preventing interference with his ability to run and dispose of the plant as part of AIB's proceedings to recover debts to it by Liam McGavigan relating to three properties, the main one being the meat plant.

It is claimed the two McGavigans, along with 'New Land League' people, have effectively shut down operations there by the sit-in.  

Stephen Walsh BL, for the bank and receiver, in an ex-parte (one side only represented) application, told the judge Edenmore appeared to have entered into some arrangement with Mr McGavigan but it had not been possible so far to find out what that was.  

Edenmore employed 45 people including the person carrying out euthanasia. Last month, that person was approached by certain people "and told not to got work", Mr Walsh said.

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It appeared the McGavigans and a number of others had barricaded themselves into the plant such that it cannot now be accessed by the receiver. Liam McGavigan had gone to local media in Donegal to say he had "retaken possession of the abattoir because there is some form of rental dispute", Mr Walsh said.

Mr Walsh added it appeared it was being used as "to stage a political sit-in".

Mr Justice O'Connor said it appeared to be a "quite alarming" matter and, while he was not saying it was the case, there could be health issues involved which was why the Department should be notified.   

He gave permission for the court papers to be affixed to the gates of the plant as well as to be served on known defendants. The case returns next week.

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