Beef Tribunal

Beef Tribunal
Date 31 May 1991 (1991-05-31) – 29 July 1994 (1994-07-29)
Location Dublin, Ireland
Also known as Tribunal of Inquiry into the Beef Processing Industry
Participants Judge Liam Hamilton

The Tribunal of Inquiry into the Beef Processing Industry, also known as the Beef Tribunal, was established on 31 May 1991, chaired by Mr Justice Liam Hamilton. It was set up to inquire into malpractice in the Irish beef processing industry, mainly centred on Goodman International, owned and controlled by Larry Goodman. It also examined accusations of special dispensations given by the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Albert Reynolds, to Goodman.[1]

The Tribunal began hearings on 21 June 1991 and it reported its conclusions in July 1994, at the time Ireland's longest-running inquiry.


The Tribunal was established by the then Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats coalition, though only after the leader of the PDs, Des O'Malley threatened to pull out of the coalition if no inquiry was established. Taoiseach Charles Haughey acquiesced to the demand.

The Tribunal was tasked with "inquiring into the following definite matters of urgent public importance: (i) allegations regarding illegal activities, fraud and malpractice in and in connection with the beef processing industry made or referred to:-- (a) in Dáil Éireann, and (b) on a television programme transmitted by ITV on 13 May 1991; (ii) any matters connected with or relevant to the matters aforesaid which the Tribunal considers it necessary to investigate in connection with its inquiries into the matters mentioned at (i) above; and 2. making such recommendations (if any) as the Tribunal, having regard to its findings, thinks proper."[2]

The allegations

The Tribunal came weeks after the broadcast of a World in Action programme, and used the allegations in the programme as the basis for many of its inquiries.

World in Action

Abuses of the system under which subsidies are paid by the EEC

Abuses of the Export Refund subsidy system

Abuses of the Aids to Private Storage Scheme at the AIBP factory in Waterford

a) Altering case weights at the Cold Store b) Preparing a plan at Senior Management level within the Goodman Group to limit the extent of the damage to the Goodman Group which proved abortive

Allegations of Political Influence

Abuses of the Tax system

Allegations Referred to in Dáil Éireann

The allegations made in Dáil Éireann cover many of the allegations made in the television programme and may be summarised as follows and under the following headings:--

Abuses of the system under which subsidies are paid by the EEC to those engaged in the beef processing industry

Failure of regulatory authorities and allegations of political influence in relation to alleged abuses of the system

Tax evasion and Political influence in regard thereto

Goodman, the Industrial Development Authority and political influence

Abuse of Export Credit Insurance Scheme

The allegations in regard to this aspect of the Inquiry were made by Deputy Desmond O'Malley, Deputy Pat Rabbitte and Deputy Dick Spring and may be summarised as follows:--

Allegations of political influence

In addition to those set forth herein, further allegations were made in Dáil Éireann as follows:--



  1. Byrne, Elaine (2012). Political Corruption in Ireland 1922-2010, A Crooked Harp?. Dublin, Ireland: Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719086885.

External links

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