Tuesday 22 October 2019

Failed meat firm leaves debts of €1.5m


KPMG has been appointed liquidator Photo: PA
KPMG has been appointed liquidator Photo: PA
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Ashbourne Beef And Lamb Limited has appointed KPMG as liquidator following a failure to have the company placed into examinership.

The Meath-based company has debts of over €1.5m, of which almost €400,000 is owed to Kepak Longford, while €159,205 is owed to John Bergin, a director of the company. The other director is Bergin's son Niall.

It is understood that the meat suppliers initially operated successfully and profitably. However, at a creditor's meeting last Friday, John Bergin told creditors that recent adverse economic conditions and what he described as "poorly judged commercial decisions" had caused the company to slide into debt.

Bergin said the company had hoped to enter examinership, but a decision was subsequently made to cease trading and wind up the company. At the creditor's meeting, Bergin expressed his gratitude to former customers and employees and thanked them for their support and loyalty and said he had invested some €200,000 of his own money to help the company survive.

John Bergin had previously served on the board of Keelaghan Meats Limited until October 2015, when he stepped down from the board, to be replaced by an Elizabeth Bergin of the same address. In June 2016, Keelaghan Meats was found guilty of a number of offences including falsely declaring Irish origin for beef imported from Poland, Lithuania or Germany, the application of false Irish slaughter and cutting plant codes used on packaging labels and having an inadequate beef-traceability plan.

The company was fined a total of €16,000 by a judge at Navan District Court, with €10,000 as an agreed contribution to costs.

The case had been brought by the Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI) and followed an investigation undertaken by the FSAI in conjunction with Meath County Council.

In commenting on the case, the judge referred to the fact that it was a very serious matter and was a fraud not only on the consumer, but on the entire industry.

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