Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has urged Kerry Group to shut its business operations in Russia in a written communication to the chief executive, Edmond Scanlon, on Friday (April 1).

The MEP wrote that many larger corporations have closed down or shut their business operations inside Russia. However, Kerry Group, he believes, has not made such a decision.

“This must be revisited urgently,” MEP Kelleher commented, as he believes “all of us have a moral obligation to do what is right”.

When asked by Agriland, MEP Kelleher said:

“Maintaining its operations in Russia is providing legitimacy to Putin’s regime, and its presence supports the Russian administration while economic activity in the country is supporting the illegal war in Ukraine.”

The MEP said that a decision by Kerry Group to not shut business operations in the country could be used by Russian authorities to justify their illegal invasion.

Kerry Group

In a recent statement, the Irish food company said it has taken all possible measures to ensure the safety of its Ukrainian colleagues and their families, including a number of measures to scale back operations in Russia.

Kerry Group confirmed that it paused capital investment in Russia and Belarus and stopped all exports out of the region, as well as suspended the production of its branded products in the area.

The company said it does not expect to make a profit or pay any related taxes in Russia. If any profits are made, however, such will be donated to humanitarian-relief efforts.

As a producer of food, beverage and pharmaceutical solutions, Kerry Group recognises its critical role in the food chain and its responsibility across all markets. It will continue to evaluate all dimensions of this ongoing crisis.

MEP Kelleher commented that Russia is a large country with many local suppliers and producers, thus Kerry Group could continue to pay its staff in Russia even if it shuttered its operations – like many other companies have chosen to do so.

“This weekend, mass graves were unearthed and Ukrainian citizens were slaughtered by Russian operatives,” MEP Kelleher said.

“There comes a point when business needs must give way to a company’s moral obligations.

“Russia must realise that if they continue on this path, they will lose access to western products and services they have come to enjoy,” the MEP said.