Two Revenue staff may be suspended after raid on oil laundering plant
TWO Revenue officials are facing the possibility of suspension from duties pending the outcome of an investigation into the discovery of an oil-laundering plant near their home in Co Louth.
The plant was found as a result of an intelligence-gathering and surveillance operation carried out by Customs officers in the border counties.
Customs, backed up by armed members of the garda regional support unit and divisional personnel, seized 21,000 litres of illicit fuel, a quantity of oil-bleaching earth, a tanker, a van and equipment located in a shed at Courtbane, Dundalk. An illegal 'shebeen' was also found on the premises.
The Irish Independent revealed yesterday that the two officials, who do not work in the Customs section of the Revenue, are to be interviewed by officers as part of their overall inquiries.
Four tonnes of toxic waste were also found when Customs raided the plant on Wednesday morning.
It had the capacity to produce four million litres of fuel a year, representing a potential loss to the Exchequer of €2m annually.
After inquiries have been completed, officers will prepare a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will then determine if a criminal charge should be brought against anybody.
It was the second laundering plant found by Customs within 12 hours.
Around midnight on Tuesday, officers uncovered a laundry, which could produce 18 million litres of fuel a year, at Tatebane, Hackballscross, near Dundalk, Co Louth.
More than 30,000 litres of illicit fuel were found there, along with 36 tonnes of toxic waste; a 'shebeen' where illicit drink was sold without a licence; 53 bags of bleaching earth for the laundering process; a tanker; and three lorries, one of which contained a concealed tank to transport the illegal fuel.