Larry Goodman sold his country mansion in Castlebellingham for €4.2 million earlier this year, in what is understood to be an internal family conveyance.
The 82-year-old ‘Beef Baron’ sold Braganstown House in March, as indicated by an entry on the Property Price Register. The building was not marketed for sale and is understood to have been transferred into the hands of one of his sons, Laurence Jr or Mark. Laurence Jr lives in a property within the estate sold by his father.
Braganstown House is a protected structure and has been undergoing an extension and internal works. Last year, Louth County Council ordered Goodman to cease unauthorised work on the property including the removal of floorboards, joinery, plasterwork, internal walls, a chimneybreast and a basement excavation.
As part of the same planning application lodged with the local authority, a swimming pool and snooker room were among the listed plans for the two-storey Georgian building which Goodman has owned over almost fifty years. Planners ordered that work carried out on the basement without planning consent should be reversed as it had resulted in ‘significant damage’ to the architectural heritage of the house.
The sale was processed on March 19 this year and the €4.2 million sum is not understood to be the full market value of the property and its adjoining lands. The Braganstown House estate could be worth in the region of €10 million, if reported land values in Louth are taken into consideration.
Entries in the Property Price Register include only the value of a house and one acre of grounds, whereas Braganstown House is estimated to include around 850 acres.
Goodman has seen his wealth soar over the last 18 months, with the Sunday Independent’s new Rich List published in February claiming that the magnate’s wealth has reached €2.8 billion. It followed new information emerging in 2019 of nine companies located here in Ireland, Jersey, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands that had assets of almost €3.5 billion between them.
Goodman is Louth’s richest individual or family and the seventh in the country overall. The news of the €1.95 billion rise in the Beef Baron’s personal wealth came against the backdrop of recent protests by suckler farmers, the majority of whom are not earning the minimum wage.
Goodman’s ABP Group is based on Castle Street and it remains the biggest beef processor in Europe while it is also a big recycler of vegetable oil and is Europe’s largest supplier of own-label pet food. ABP has operations in nine countries, with a reported annual turnover of €3 billion.
His name has re-emerged in the public eye in recent days as meat factories have been cited as Covid-19 cluster hotspots in the Midlands, amidst a fresh lockdown in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. Four meat factories have been affected – two in Kildare. At O’Brien Fine Foods in Timahoe, a third of its 240 staff tested positive for coronavirus.
In another factory in Naas, 30 staff members tested positive. Miniser for Health Stephen Donnelly said on Saturday that meat factories were subjected to rigorous health inspections. “Ireland was the first country in Europe to introduce protocols for the meat factories, and very extensive testing was done,” he said.
“There were very, very few cases all the way through July, so the measures were working – there were temperature checks, screenings, masks, perspex, inspections, etc.”
On Friday, Greg Ennis of trade union Siptu said a blanket Covid-19 testing regime was necessary to identify cases of the virus in meat processing factories and to protect workers, their families, and the wider community. In March, Goodman’s ABP Food Group said that the safety and wellbeing of staff at their processing plants was “paramount” after approximately 80 workers walked out at their facility in Lurgan.
The Unite union were informed of the walkout at ABP Meats in Lurgan where around 80 employees, deemed ‘essential’ in light of restrictions in place at the time refused to work over fears for their safety. The workers in question demanded adequate social distancing of two metres be facilitated and enforced, as well as a number of other measures.
These included having deep-cleans conducted on work stations where other workers have self-isolated with coronavirus symptoms.
In a statement released to LouthNow.ie at the time, ABP Food Group said, “The safety and wellbeing of colleagues is paramount and the company has introduced a variety of additional measures at all sites in recent weeks in response to Covid-19.
‘These measures include protocols around essential visitors, temperature checking, additional sanitising stations, staggered breaks, additional canteen spaces and many other robust protocols that are in place in food manufacturing facilities. The company is taking guidance from the relevant public health authorities and is continually reviewing the situation and taking additional steps where necessary.’
On Friday evening, Mr Goodman was trending on Twitter as users discussed the ‘Beef Baron’ and the Covid-19 cluster outbreaks at meat factories.