DEAR SIR: I would like to outline to you some of my observations that have occurred on the Kerry Co-op board in recent times.
In your article last week, you outlined the decision of Kerry Co-op board to defer its decision to allow a shareholder to sell his shares. Since then, I have read the actual letter that Kerry Co-op sent to the shareholder. I cannot understand what this individual is supposed to apologise for. I think it sets a dangerous precedent why this shareholder has been asked for an apology in the first place.
In this part of the world, we are blessed with the gift of free speech and I, as a Kerry Co-op shareholder, previously took this for granted.
Anyone should be allowed to express their opinion on the “goings-on” of their own co-op. It goes against the ethos of the co-operative movement to ask for an apology for a difference of opinion.
For there to be any talks of this shareholder being expelled and receiving only €1.25 for each of their co-op shares instead of the €737 that they are worth, is simply unacceptable.
This, in my opinion, should never have been written in the letter sent to the shareholder. This was never the Kerry Co-op’s way of conducting business.
While I was involved as a director, any matters that arose were discussed at board level and any correspondence was handled in an appropriate manner.
Talks of cancelling approximately €700,000 of a shareholder’s shares is clearly going to inflict severe distress on an individual.
Before any solicitor’s letter was sent out, the impact it would have on an individual’s mental health should have first been considered by the board. The board has a duty of care to all shareholders equally. It appears to me that this farmer has not been treated fairly.
Where do we go from here as Kerry farmers? How has our co-op ended up like this? How has such miscommunication occurred between the milk suppliers, Kerry Co-op and Kerry Group plc? It is hard to imagine that such a great movement has come to this point in time and I feel now that we must return to our Kerry Co-op values with a change of leadership, and a new way of thinking at Kerry Co-op’s top table is urgently required.