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Bank seeks €8m order against egg producer over unpaid loans



Date Published: 10-Dec-2009

THE Bank of Ireland is seeking summary judgment orders for some €7.9 million against a Co Galway man who has consented to his extradition to the UK in connection with an alleged multimillion Euro fraud involving eggs being falsely passed onto British consumer as free range organic eggs.

The bank’s proceedings against Pearse Piggott (48), a former Galway hurling star and All-Ireland medal winner, and his wife Noelle, of Ballyglennon, Gort, were admitted to the Commercial Court, the big business division of the high Court this week by Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

The British authorities sought the surrender of Mr Piggott over his alleged involvement in a fraud between 2004 and late 2007 where eggs from caged hens were passed off to UK consumers as being free range or organic.

It is alleged production numbers on eggs were altered, the names of the suppliers were incorrect and the fraud netted a profit of some Stg £1.59 million. The high Court was told last July Mr Piggott, who runs the egg distribution firm Pearse Piggott and Sons, was consenting to his surrender to the UK where he faces charges including conspiracy with others to defraud and of perverting the course of justice. He is due to appear before a court in the UK next month.

Mr Piggott played in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final in 1986 when a Cyril Farrell-led Galway lost to Cork but secured a winner’s medal twelve months later as a substitute when Galway defeated Kilkenny. In recent years he also served as a selector for the Galway senior hurling team.

In its action against the Piggotts, BOI claims it is entitled to summary judgment orders for some €7.9 million arising from loans advanced to the couple on dates between February 2006 and November 2007.

In an affidavit, Jjoan Naughton of BOI’s Regional Business unit in Galway said the purpose of the loans was to restructure existing loans with the bank, purchase a pub and adjoining investment property and to invest in certain residential and industrial property.

She said the defendants had agreed in January last to repay all sums due by April 30th, 2009, preceded by a specific lump sum reduction spread between the four loans.

That lump sum reduction was not made and the facilities were not cleared by April 2009, but the bank agreed to continue the lending facilities provided agreed other lump sum payments for part payment of interest were made. Some €25,000 was paid by June 2009.

The bank then learned from media reports on June 11th, 2009 the UK Revenue was seeking the extradition of Mr Piggott over his alleged involvement in an egg fraud, the bank was concerned by this and a senior manager discussed the matter with Mr Piggott.

The bank later told the defendants they had 21 days to arrange payment of their loans. When proposals were not made concerning repayments, the bank on August 26th issued letters demanding immediate repayment.

Mr Piggott in October last put without prejudice proposals to the bank and the defendants also made payments of some €12,000, Ms Naughton said.

On October 21st last, the bank advised the defendants’ solicitors it had decided to issue summary judgment proceedings.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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