Gar­daí launch hunt for fac­tory own­ers

Novem­ber 1983

Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS -

Two English­men who set up a man­u­fac­tur­ing unit on Wex­ford’s In­dus­trial Es­tate and dis­ap­peared af­ter just twelve weeks are be­ing sought by Gar­daí.

The men [NAMES WITHELD] are be­lieved to be in Brazil. The fac­tory, Leigh En­ter­prises Ltd., was stripped of all fit­tings and ma­chin­ery just hours be­fore they dis­ap­peared.

A spokesper­son for the In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Author­ity said this week the men had not ap­plied for, nor been given, as­sis­tance un­der the Small In­dus­tries Scheme. He added how­ever that the two had made ‘ex­ten­sive’ in­quiries about grants avail­able since they ar­rived in Wex­ford just a few months ago.

The Leigh En­ter­prise con­cern cen­tred around the as­sem­bly of mo­bile cater­ing units, and parts were brought in from Britain for as­sem­bly. Ac­cord­ing to the IDA, the men in­tended to start ac­tual fab­ri­ca­tion later, em­ploy­ing up to fif­teen peo­ple.

How­ever, up to their light­ning dis­ap­pear­ance last week, only one per­son was em­ployed – a 17-year-old from Tal­bot Green in Wex­ford – and his fa­ther learned last week that the sole workman had not had PAYE or PRSI con­tri­bu­tions paid on his be­half.

The fa­ther hit out this week at what he de­scribed as ‘a scan­dal’.

The man, who is him­self a self-em­ployed panel beater, also told how he had loaned the fac­tory an elec­tric cir­cu­lar saw and a two and a half tonne hy­draulic jack. ‘ There were taken away too when the fac­tory was cleared out. I am find­ing it im­pos­si­ble to carry out my own work with­out them,’ he said.

The fac­tory the men rented on the In­dus­trial Es­tate was pri­vately owned. It for­merly houses the Glin­don Tree Con­fec­tionery Unit, where bub­ble gum was made for ex­port up to three years ago.

One of the man who has now fled lived with his wife in a rented house in Ross­lare, while the other had taken rented ac­com­mo­da­tion in Screen.

The fac­tory they had rented had been com­pletely re­fur­bished for them by a lo­cal firm, whose pro­pri­etor re­vealed this week that a sum of ap­prox­i­mately £1,500 due for the work is still out­stand­ing.

Other out­stand­ing ac­counts due to lo­cal busi­nesses by Leigh En­ter­prises are un­der­stood to amount to more than £4,000.

A spokesman for Wex­ford Gar­daí said on Tues­day they ‘ knew well’ about the case and were try­ing to trace the where­abouts of the two men.

‘It is prov­ing dif­fi­cult be­cause they have left very lit­tle trace of them­selves be­hind, but we are 99% con­fi­dent they left the coun­try by tak­ing the pas­sen­ger ferry from Ross­lare Har­bour,’ the spokesman said.

He added that it is fur­ther be­lieved that the men may have then flown from the UK to the USA, and on from there to Brazil.

He said that Gar­daí ‘ have not ruled out’ seek­ing the as­sis­tance of In­ter­pol in the case.

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