A Galway farmer housed a Brazilian worker in a steel container without access to a toilet or running water, all without paying him, Tuam District Court was told this week.
The court heard that the 47 year-old Brazilian man was employed on the farm in Monivea for three months, during which he said he had to work 16 hours a day.
The Irish Independent reports that Thomas Killarney of Knockauncarragh, Ryehill, Monivea was charged with employing a non-national without a permit.
Prosecuting Garda Sergeant Daithi Cronin told the court that the Brazilian man had made a complaint at Tuam Garda station that he’d been working on the farm for three months without getting paid.
The gardaí took the complaint seriously and Garda Frank Fahy investigated the issue, during which time he spoke with Mr Killarney and the Brazilian worker on several occasions.
Mr Killarney told Garda Fahy that he didn’t know he had to have a permit in order to employ the Brazilian man.
While Mr Killarney admitted to the charge, solicitor for the defence Eoin Carty said he would dispute the number of hours the man said he had to work.
According to the Brazilian man, who declined to appear in court, he had a deal with the farmer to work 16 hours a day, for which he would be paid €60 per day.
Judge John King noted that this is well below minimum wage, and said that he found the hours required unacceptable.
The defence brought €1,000 to court to discharge any debt that was owed to the worker, but Judge King rejected their offer.
Instead the judge adjourned the case to give gardaí time to determine what is owed to the victim.
He asked the gardaí to get the views of the worker when determining a fair amount, which is due to be paid when the case is next heard on December 11.