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Claims of ‘inaccurate’ accusations in meat plant row

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Liam McGagivan (right).

THE owner of a disputed meat factory in Lifford has described as ‘inaccurate and one sided’ claims made against him and his family in the High Court in Dublin.

Mr Liam McGavigan was speaking to the Donegal News after accusations were made by a barrister for a receiver that former employees at Edenmore Farm Meats Ltd, who lease the premises, had been ‘threatened and intimated.’

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It was also claimed animal carcasses were causing a health and safety risk at the plant which was ‘reclaimed’ by Mr McGavigan and a number of others in October.

He claims Edenmore, a company he used to own and was recently employed by, owes him and a number of farmers a substantial amount of money.

In the High Court last Tuesday, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan was told the plant has not been operating after a number of people allegedly ‘illegally barricaded’ themselves into it in a dispute about the take-over of the premises by receiver Luke Charleton who was appointed by AIB.

Last week, AIB and Mr Charleton were given permission by the court to serve at short notice proceedings against Mr Liam McGavigan, his brother Ciaran and unknown others allegedly occupying the plant.

However, Mr McGavigan told this paper that no staff were ever intimidated and that his brother had nothing to do with the dispute.

“There is no sit-in at the factory and I can categorically state no employees were ever threatened by me or any of the farmers who are owed money by Edenmore,” he said.

“It was also claimed in court that members of ‘New Land League’ had shut down the factory. I know nothing about this group and have nothing to do with them. I am, however, receiving very helpful legal advice from ‘The Helping Hand’ group in Letterkenny. What has been said in court over the last two weeks has been very inaccurate and one sided.”

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Mr Gavigan added that, as also claimed in court, 55 people were put out of work when he first occupied the building. He said only a handful of workers had been working there on a two-day week and claimed wages were owed by Edenmore to a number of them.

“My priority was, and still is, to get the factory back in operation and get all these people back to work. I’m in regular contact with the workers. Things are dramatic, but not as dramatic as described in court. It was also claimed in court that carcasses were lying about the premises, however, I have paid thousands of euro to have these removed. The factory is spotless now and there is no health risk whatsoever.”

Last week, AIB and Mr Charleton were given permission by the court to serve at short notice proceedings against Mr Liam McGavigan, his brother Ciaran and unknown others allegedly occupying the plant.   

When the matter returned before Mr Justice Gilligan, on Tuesday, Andrew Walker Bl said he represented Edenmore Farm Meats and the company’s 55 employees.

Mr Justice Gilligan agreed to allow the company be joined as a notice party in the case, and adjourned the matter to next week.  

The receiver is seeking orders preventing interference with his ability to run and dispose of the plant as part of AIB’s proceedings to recover debts to it by Liam McGavigan relating to three properties, the main one being the meat plant.

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Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland