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Foot in Mouth

Much of everyday speech is inaccurate, so inaccuracy is not a big deal in everyday life. However, Government ministers do not inhabit our banal everyday world. In the case of the Minister for Agriculture and Food this means at least two things; he should not say “appraise” when he means “apprise,”  and he should not undermine criminal investigations by diminishing the facts being investigated which he does when he says he is investigating “mislabeling”. To say that selling horsemeat as beef is mislabeling is to imply inaccuracy, merely, by the seller.

Sometimes even inaccuracy is very serious. When an auditor finds a discrepancy of €1.5 euros in the accounts he/she keeps looking for the cause of that discrepancy. If they do not, they may find they are answerable for a very large fraud.

The Minister for Agriculture and Food is running that risk.

He should read Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001. It reads:

“6.—(1) A person who dishonestly, with the intention of making a gain for himself or herself or another, or of causing loss to another, by any deception induces another to do or refrain from doing an act is guilty of an offence.”

The definitions section of the act says this:

““dishonestly” means without a claim of right made in good faith;”