It is imperative that the 400 Kerry Co-op suppliers who received letters from the Revenue Commissioners last month engage with the Revenue by Friday, December 9, a meeting in Co. Limerick heard last night.

Over 140 Kerry Co-op suppliers met in Co. Limerick last night, December 6, on the patronage shares issue. The meeting went on for three hours, a Kerry supplier told Agriland.

It follows on from a similar meeting in Listowel, Co. Kerry earlier this week, where over 100 suppliers gathered on the issue.

It is understood that a representative from Kerry Co-op was at the meeting in Limerick last night, along with an accountant who gave an overview of the situation to the farmers present.

Speaking to Agriland the supplier said that the important message from the meeting was that the affected farmers must engage with the Revenue by Friday.

“There is an awful lot of confusion around the issue. We were told that the co-op board taking a test case to the tax appeals commission on the issue is not going to solve our problems.”

Perhaps what is more worrying, is that farmers at the meeting were told that the Revenue can go back past 2011 to demand taxes from patronage shares, he said.

Meanwhile, farm organisations “came in for slaughter” at the meeting in Co. Limerick last night, he said.

They’re seen to be washing their hands of it. There’s no support being shown.

Another supplier who was at the meeting told Agriland that he was disappointed that farmers had to come together on their own and that farmers should be represented.

He also highlighted that following the meeting, there was a united front amongst farmers – that there’s a point to be made to take care of each other at this time.

“People are giving up on the organisations. This is out of fear. There is an incredible amount of fear.”

“The personal side in all of this is being completely lost. Families are vulnerable. People simply cannot afford it. These are real human beings.”

Temperatures ran very high at the meeting, the Kerry supplier said and that there was no need for any heating in the room.

“The amount of steam people were letting off… it was enough to power Moneypoint [power station].”

Last month, over 400 Kerry suppliers received letters with tax demands from the Revenue in relation to patronage shares issued to them by the co-op for the period 2011 to 2013.

Tax demands range from €15,000- €30,000 and farmers in receipt of the letters were given 21 days to respond to the letters.

Revenue has declared that the patronage shares must be regarded as trading income and subject to income tax, USC, and PSRI.