Niall Collins has condemned the 'absolutely shocking' revelations
A REVENUE employee, who signed letters sent to over 400 Kerry milk suppliers demanding tax arrears on loyalty shares, has received “sinister” threats, the Leader has learned.
It is understood the person works in County Kerry but resides in Limerick. Affected farmers were shocked and angry last November when they received correspondence from “out of the blue” saying they had under declared income on these shares. Sums range from €5,000 to over €50,000 per person.
Gardai have confirmed they are investigating two instances of hate mail and threatening behaviour towards an individual. It is understood the perpetrators called to the Revenue official’s County Limerick home and left messages to the effect of, “We will be back if you don’t withdraw your letters”.
Gardai are monitoring activities at the house since the incidents in recent weeks.
Deputy Niall Collins, who raised the matter of the Revenue's demands in the Dail last year, said this new revelation was “absolutely shocking”.
“Public servants are doing their job and those aggrieved should not be taking out their anger on one individual person.
"Citizens have an appeals process and there are channels to go through. People shouldn’t make it personal,” said Deputy Collins, who became aware of the threats over the New Year.
The Fianna Fail TD says he can understand the anger that it is out there but it should not be directed in this “vicious manner”.
“Frustration and anger is understandable but hate mail certainly isn’t,” said Deputy Collins.
He described the letters from the Revenue last November as “a bombshell out of left field”.
“Farmers have just endured a milk price crisis for two years. They have financial commitments for the next number of years based on their income projection and cash flow.
"This matter is far from over, there is a long way to go but targeting the person from the Revenue definitely isn’t the way to go about it,” said Deputy Collins.
Tax demands from the Revenue are connected to “patronage” shares issued to milk suppliers by Kerry Co-op during the period 2011 to 2013. They were allocated one new co-op share for every 1,000 gallons of milk supplied annually. Farmers say they were never made aware of any potential income tax liability from preference shares.
A spokesperson for the Revenue said that for reasons of data protection and confidentiality they could not comment on a query on the hate mail from the Limerick Leader.
“However, in general terms, you will be aware that it is not unknown for individuals to seek to highlight dissatisfaction with an organisation through bullying or threatening behaviour targeting individual staff members, or groups of staff.
"Such behaviour is totally unacceptable and Revenue takes any threat against our staff very seriously. Our policy is to assess and take appropriate action, including referral to An Garda Siochána,” said the spokesperson.