‘Seeming lack of transparency’ when it comes to meat factory ownership – Carthy

Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy has raised concerns over the structure of ownership of (some) meat factories in Ireland.

Speaking about the “seeming lack of transparency” in the meat industry, deputy Carthy alleged:

“Is it not true that many companies use unlimited structures and operate through funnels in other jurisdictions…?”

‘We need to move to a point where there is transparency’

At the meeting of the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response last week, deputy Carthy said that during the factory protests last year “farmers strongly lamented the lack of transparency in the sector”.

“I am told that Kildare Chilling Company operates on the following basis: The registered company Kildare Chilling Company – unlimited – is owned by a company called Casia – unlimited; which is registered in the Isle of Man,” deputy Carthy said.

“Casia – unlimited – is, in turn, owned by Courtline Holdings, an unlimited Irish-registered company. Courtline Holdings is owned by Rathbeg Investments, an unlimited Irish-registered company which, in turn, is owned by Kilcourt Investments.

Could any of the witnesses indicate why any company would operate under such a structure?

“Carroll Cuisine is essentially owned by a Luxembourg holding company.

“If we are to learn anything from these cases and the situation highlighted as a result of Covid-19, we need to move to a point where there is transparency…”

‘It is a complex web…’

Greg Ennis, SIPTU manufacturing division organiser, said that a company may decide to be unlimited “probably because there is less regulation”.

“There seems to be a great deal of it in this [food] industry and others. It might be taking people out from under the spotlight that needs to be shone on them,” Ennis said.

It is a complex web throughout this industry – a complex web of agency workers; sole traders; poor conditions of employment; massive turnovers…

Cormac Healy, senior director of Meat Industry Ireland (MII), said that it is “just company law in Ireland”.

He asserted: “How this is relevant to Covid-19, I am not sure.”