Irish mushroom gangmasters fined
30th January 2013
Two men discovered by GLA investigators to be supplying labour to the mushroom industry in Northern Ireland without the required licence have each been fined £500.
Peter MacHugh, of Irlandea Employments, Ballynahinch, County Down and Patrick Kernan, of Kernan Recruitment, Benburb, County Tyrone, each admitted a separate charge of acting as a gangmaster without a licence.
The Armagh court was told that MacHugh acquired at least 18 workers from agencies in Romania and Bulgaria. He charged each of them a ‘finding fee’ for their employment of between £300 and £500.
They were then provided to perform agricultural work for a mushroom producer – an activity that required him to hold a valid GLA Licence.
It was also heard that Kernan, another unlicensed gangmaster, advertised jobs across Europe.
Kernan charged 23 workers £100 each to go towards their transport from the airport and to assist with their accommodation. He was paid another £150 per worker supplied by the mushroom producer.
Both men were fined £500 and ordered to pay a contribution towards their prosecution costs.
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