Opinion

It’s time Glanbia said goodbye to its ‘irregular’ milk supplier

‘Dirty work at the crossroads’ is the only term that comes to mind when reflecting on the decision by the State Solicitor not to prosecute the Glanbia Director William Carroll, following the Clongowes Wood debacle.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the allegations pertaining to the matter however, one salient fact stands out: Carroll was issued with the superlevy bill for the milk that was deposited in the bulk tank at Clongowes, having previously been produced on his home farm in Co. Tipperary.

This means that he broke the rules and, on foot of this fact alone, Carroll should have ‘enjoyed’ his day in court. Let’s be clear about this: had the incident involved an ordinary farmer ‘down the country’, that person would, almost certainly, have been prosecuted.

So, why should there be one rule enacted for the average farmer and another set of standards implemented for those with a bit of clout?

For its part, Glanbia comes out of all this very badly. In the first instance, the co-op has never clarified what happened to the milk that was delivered to Clongowes. And, more specifically, were any of its much profiled traceability regulations breached, courtesy of the actions taken by Carroll?

But it doesn’t end there. Carroll still sits on the Glanbia board. The taste this leaves in the mouth is extremely unpleasant, and that’s an understatement.

Irrespective of the official decision taken by the State Solicitor, Carroll obviously broke the code of ethics associated with the honour and privilege of holding a board member’s position within any organisation.

Glanbia is one of the leading agri-food companies in Ireland. It has a tremendous reputation as a leading dairy processer with innovation and new thinking at the heart of its business philosophy.

But, keeping Carroll on the board, given the Clongowes Wood incident, does nothing but sully this hard earned status. It’s time that he either tendered his resignation or the hierarchy at Glanbia had a quiet word in Mr Carroll’s ear.

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