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Written Answers - Departmental Investigations

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 495.  Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  if he has confirmed in writing to a company (details supplied) in County Kilkenny the reasons the special investigation unit is carrying out an investigation at the company; if the company has been informed as to the reason the customers of this business have been contacted directly by the SIU; if he will confirm if any breach of regulation or law was notified to the company prior to inspection; if he will accept responsibility for the damage caused to a vehicle owned by the company; if every effort will be made by him to complete the investigation efficiently and in cooperation with the company in order to protect the five jobs involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16103/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am constrained from commenting in any detail about this matter because an investigation by my Department is ongoing and also because the company concerned has initiated its own legal proceedings against my Department.

I can say that any investigations carried out by my Department are subject to the investigating powers set out in the relevant legislation. In addition, the Special Investigation Unit is subject to a formal Code of Conduct which includes a procedure for making complaints. It is also the case that any person or entity being investigated enjoys the normal Constitutional and legal protections.

In terms of communication with the company concerned, I understand that they would, in accordance with normal practice, have been advised directly of the reasons for the investigation in the course of inspection visits. In view of the legal proceedings I have already referred to, and in accordance with established practice, a response to correspondence from the company’s legal representatives will issue from the Office of the Chief State Solicitor as soon as possible.

In the meantime I have appointed a senior official of my Department to make contact with the company and I am informed that a meeting took place yesterday which I hope may lead to resolving the issues in dispute.

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