Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1
WEDNESDAY 17 MARCH 1999
MURRAY and MR
1. Mr Murray, we had the great pleasure
of seeing you and Mr McGrath when we were in Belfast. Not all
Members of the Committee were present in Belfast on that occasion
so there will be one or two unfamiliar faces around the table.
Some of our questions may go over ground we have been over with
you before but in this instance we are doing it formally. Some
of our Members will not be able to be present throughout and therefore
you may see some slip from the group. Because we will seek to
put questions in a logical order, questions may come from different
corners of the horseshoe. You should feel entirely free after
the event, either now or later, to gloss any answer you have given
and equally, if there is a question which we fail to ask and which
we would like to ask you formally, we will take the liberty of
sending a note thereafter. Because we have had the pleasure of
a previous conversation with you, I do not imagine there is anything
you want to say of an introductory nature. If you should wish
to, please do not hesitate to do so.
(Mr Murray) Thank you. It is a privilege to be
here on a difficult subject. The LOPG represents a very broad
church and is there for one purpose only. That is to get rid of
the problem we presently have of the illegal selling of fuel oil
products. From the CBI through to the oil companies, the petrol
retailers and everybody, we are across the board. We have a small
delegation today but I hope we will be able to answer your questions.
I do hope I can take it that fuel oil means the various products
that fall within that titlei.e., it includes petrol, diesel
and kerosene, not just diesel?
Chairman: I think
that is an assumption you can readily make. We are conscious that
we have asked you on an inconvenient day and we are very appreciative
that you and Mr McGrath should have come.
2. The budget did not make it any easier,
(Mr Murray) The budget has raised the differential
to 25p approximately which is £15 for a family motorist to
fill up his tank with fuel. It has made it a lot worse.
3. I certainly found the informal meeting
that we had in January very useful. You described in some detail
the problems caused. In some ways, obviously, they have been exacerbated
by the change in duty but are there any subsequent developments
on which you would like to comment and what are your current estimates
of the amount of fuel oildiesel, petrol or whateverthat
is currently being smuggled?
(Mr Murray) Nobody has done a model of what is
happening and therefore it is hearsay. One can be criticised quickly
on hearsay because you do not have tangible evidence, but that
would be naive in the present situation. There is a lot of diesel
and petrol being smuggled into the north of Ireland and there
is a lot of washed diesel being used in the north of Ireland.
Estimates done previously ranged around £100 million per
annum of excise duty missing. I think Customs and Excise themselves
seem to feel that it was £150 million and this was pre-Budget.
The figure might have reached £200 million now, after the
Budget, but that is speculation and I do not have hard figures.
What I do have is a pack of information, which I will leave for
your Clerk which contains the comparison of petrol and diesel
sales in the north of Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.
You see one graph going like this up and you see the other
graph going like that down (indicating). Do not
tell me there are fewer cars on the road doing fewer miles in
the north of Ireland because there are not and do not tell me
that fuel efficiency has got to the point that we are all using
so much less petrol. We are not.
4. I will not.
(Mr Murray) It is fairly self-evident from those
graphs which I will leave with you. There is also an interesting
graph which I might comment on, the excise duty in the Republic
of Ireland and the excise duty in the United Kingdom over the
last ten years, and you can clearly see the graph with the United
Kingdom being about five pence above the line for about four years
and suddenly at the end of 1996 it goes up and up and up and the
problem started really seriously at the end of 1996, into 1997
5. As you know, we had a presentation by
Customs and had the privilege of seeing some footage. It occurs
to me that places like Crossmaglen and others which are not known
for oil refineries have a phenomenal amount of activity taking
place. I would like to give you the opportunity to put this on
the record, although I accept that this is probably anecdotal,
but you intimated before that you felt that paramilitary involvement
was well proven in the illegal smuggling of fuel oils, that there
was some evidence that Republican paramilitaries were actually
doing the direct smuggling in and Loyalist paramilitaries were
involved in distribution, and that both sets of paramilitary organisations
or their associated groups were benefiting financially from the
process. Do you stand by that? Are you prepared to put that on
the record and have you any other further information on that
that you would like to share with the Committee?
(Mr Murray) You are quite correct and you paraphrase
my words almost to a T. That is what I did say on that occasion.
I have no proof of those events. There are very few people who
live in the north of Ireland or in Dublin that have not followed
the career of people like Mr Murphy and others with some interest
over the years. The Sunday Times has done a tremendous job. Therefore,
I think there is a point when perception tends to become reality
and possibly I am guilty of that. Having said that, how many people
have factual evidence of precisely what was happening in 30 years
of trouble in Northern Ireland? Some of these guys are pretty
unpleasant. I personally hold the belief that, from the smuggling
across the border in the last 30 years, whether it was pigs, grain
or petrol, depending on the year and what was in vogue, that money
has been siphoned off to paramilitaries, predominantly on the
Republican side, but I have no evidence for it other than anecdotal.
On the other side of the fence, I have lots of evidence going
back over the years in the height of the troubles when black taxis
were sharing spare parts in the most hard-line parts of Belfast.
The world of commerce seemed to tick along under the surface very
often. I do not have any hard evidence. I think, with the distribution
of the product in Northern Ireland, probably I am slightly coloured
in that the one big hit that has been made in that respect was
not very definitely of a Republican person. People feel uncomfortable
when they move from Crossmaglen to North Down and parts of Antrim,
if you follow me. Therefore, it seems to me that other people
are involved, but I have no proof whatsoever that money has flowed.
6. Following on from the previous questions,
can you give us some indication to place on the record, both locationally
and in terms of the type of premises, where the sale of illegal
fuel is taking place in Northern Ireland?
(Mr Murray) The smuggled fuel inevitably starts
in the Republic of Ireland and has to be brought across the border.
It then has to be distributed. To distribute it takes a network
and that network must have some form of a sales force to entice
and encourage people to buy. I do not feel uncomfortable making
the comment, but I do feel uncomfortable for a lot of small filling
station owners who are out of my mouth being branded criminals,
because they are not all by any means criminals. They either go
bankrupt and the family gets into a lot of trouble or they sell
smuggled diesel, it seems to me, and that is a very difficult
point. My sympathy is with them in some cases but we took photographs
which we gave to your Clerk and Customs and Excise of some 70-odd
filling stations that were selling fuel at a price which simply
could not be economic if they were going to make any money.
(Mr McGrath) The number of filling stations that
we have in the Province is becoming much less. That is, those
sites that are under contract to the oil companies. Once the site
is becoming free of tie, they invariably put up their own signs
to enable them to buy wherever they please. The situation, as
far as the stock being available, is that I am contacted from
time to time by various dealers and given details of prices that
they have been offered by various people. No later than the 11th,
I was contacted by an Esso dealer who gave me prices and, comparing
those prices to our prices at which we buy from the docks, if
the dealer were to avail himself of that product, in spite of
the fact that he has been very heavily supported by Esso's price
watch and consequently his pump prices are very low, relatively
speaking, he could make an additional profit of £2,500 a
(Mr Murray) Tom works for the Henderson grocery
chain. Not very long ago they had 47 filling stations that they
supplied under contract. Today, that figure is down to 16 or 17
but the filling stations are still there, doing business. Where
are they getting their fuel?
7. I assume therefore that there are two
forms of illegality taking place. One is that fuel is being brought
across the border without going through the normal procedures
in relation to the importation of fuel. Secondly, it is being
purchased; no VAT is being paid on it and no other tax would be
paid. Presumably what is sold by way of illegal fuel is hidden
in terms of all of its cost from the tax man. We lose out in terms
of the benefits that the government would get, in terms of the
initial receipt but also the tax man, in terms of looking at the
individual's own accounts for a filling station, would lose that
degree of profit if it had been normal fuel used.
(Mr Murray) I see three scams. One is heating
oil kerosene which goes from the north to the south because the
price is slightly less in the south than the north. That makes
two or three pence per litre but that gives a back load to the
diesel being smuggled back which has a price differential of 25p
per litre or thereabouts. It appears that most filling stations
will cry poverty and that they are not doing very much business;
they will take a few bona fide loads from a recognised supplier
to be able to complete a set of accounts. The true volume of the
smuggled product never gets to the books at all and therefore
the Inland Revenue, the VAT and the excise duty are being avoided
8. It seems to me it would not be a desperately
difficult task in the investigation of any firm's accounts to
be able to see a significant reduction in what is, on the face
of it, the amount of fuel sold and questions should follow quickly
(Mr McGrath) The suppliers of the fuel have VAT
numbers that have been checked out by Coopers & Lybrand from
time to time and they are legitimate VAT numbers. They are claiming
that the product is legitimate as well. I am aware of the fact
that Customs and Excise are currently in the process of starting
a series of visits round all of the locations in the north of
Ireland, retail and wholesale, checking up on exactly that.
(Mr Murray) If you smuggle fuel across the border,
you then house it in a VAT registered entity. As long as you keep
changing your VAT registered entity, you then sell it on. If anybody
rings up Customs and Excise and says, "Is this a legitimate
company?", "Yes, it is VAT registered. We have nothing
against them", because they have only just started trading
presumably. It is a legitimate sale from a VAT registered company,
in so far as that company exists.
9. Am I right in saying that the fuel companies
themselves do not have an awful lot to lose in this, because if
they are not selling it on one side of the border they are selling
it on the other?
(Mr Murray) That I cannot answer in that I am
only on one side of the border. The filling stations selling smuggled
products are only on one side of the border. The majority, but
not all, of the national oil companies are represented on both
sides of the border, with the exception possibly of BP. There
might be some truth in what you say but, as regards my business
and the people that we are representing, no, that is not really
10. I do not get the impression that they
are particularly exercised about this issue, which seems to indicate
that if they do not sell it in Northern Ireland they sell it in
the Republic and it comes up to Northern Ireland. It is still
the same money to them.
(Mr Murray) That could be.
11. Can we have on record your analysis
of the effect which the availability of illegal fuel is having
on the legitimate trade? I have in mind that, when we met informally,
you referred to dealers not signing new contracts and stations
being disguised to look like branded stations and then the sign
remaining once the contract was over. Can you take us through
(Mr Murray) Of course. In your next session, the
Petrol Retailers' Association is closer to that particular area
but I will give you what I see as being the picture. You will
hear from them and if they contradict what I say, forgive me,
but I am telling you what I believe to be the case. The effects
of what we are seeing are that a large number of Northern Ireland
filling stations, not the major motorway or city centre type stations
but those owned by families and small operators, are having the
choice of closing down, accepting huge losses, going bankrupt
or becoming criminals. They are under very severe pressure to
buy at reduced prices. It is not just smuggled product. We must
not forget the washed or laundered diesel. To give a very quick
resumé, you buy agricultural gas oil at 10p; you probably
spend 10p transporting and washing it and you have in the order
of 50p to play with in terms of profit. On that gain, a very modest
operator can make himself, in my view, £2 million per annum.
All he has to do is four artic loads per week and he will be making
himself £2 million per annum. It will not be lost upon you
that in a letter to me from Adam Ingram he said their estimate
was that the person they busted not so very long ago owed them
£2 million in excise duty and he had only been in the oil
business for about 18 to 20 months. I have a letter here from
Montgomery Transport and they speak for all the transport companies,
particularly if you are not in the border area. When you go to
the border areas, the Western Education and Library Board, who
are supported by our taxes, are buying all their fuel in the Republic
of Ireland because it is cheaper. The significant difference between
GB and Northern Ireland of course is the 300 mile land based European
border with the highest differentials of excise duty from the
bottom to the top in terms of fuel. I have a recent letter here
from the CBI who are extremely concerned at the effect it is having
on Northern Ireland with reduced revenues in the oil terminals
at the Port of Belfast. It is making Northern Ireland industry
compared to the Republic of Ireland more expensive. Energy in
Northern Ireland, as you all know, is an expensive commodity.
This is making it even more expensive in relation to attracting
industry to the Republic of Ireland. You are encouraging an entire
population to be immoral, which is not a very good thing. It is
(Mr McGrath) In addition, the market place has
been distorted. Prices have been distorted because of the situation.
Consequently, profits are very low and the only way the legitimate
filling station can survive is if they have a reasonable shop.
Otherwise, they just could not exist.
12. Can you tell us a little more about
one of the points you made in January about stations being made
to look like branded stations? Is this quite a frequent occurrence?
(Mr Murray) It would appear that once a filling
station has a brand flag over it which is paid for by an oil company
as the normal practice on a grant aided basis, when that contract
ends, it is extraordinarily difficult to get back on to the property
to remove it because of the laws of trespass, the laws of damage
to the property, and oil companies are having a very difficult
job going back and removing their own property.
(Mr McGrath) That is exactly the situation that
we are experiencing. We have a Jet filling station that I can
think of in particular and Jet have been trying for a year to
have their signs removed. Maxol are certainly involved in exactly
that with a number of filling stations. We are as well. That is
a problem that would appear to be ongoing and it is very difficult
(Mr Murray) There is the boast that it (smuggled
or washed fuel) can be supplied in whatever kind of tanker you
would like. If you are actually flagged Texaco, we can give you
a simulated Texaco tanker to give the impression that you are
getting bona fide fuel from a bone fide source into
a bona fide filling station.
13. What information do you have about the
number of filling stations? There are trends for filling stations
to be larger, perhaps with decreased numbers. Others will be closing
because of this. What is the overall pattern?
(Mr Murray) I think my colleagues in the PRA will
be better equipped to give you specific information. Without a
shadow of a doubt, none of the major oil company-owned, or Tesco
or Sainsbury's filling stations is participating. I have heard
the figure quoted that 50 per cent of Northern Ireland's filling
stations are using illegal products one way or another but I have
nothing to back that up. The homework has not been done.
(Mr McGrath) The only evidence I would suggest
would be the figures that have been produced through the imports
of product through Belfast in that the amount of product, including
petrol, is down by about possibly 25 per cent. Another example
of the situation as it is increasing might be the fact that the
analytical chemists which the industry use in the north of Ireland
have reported to me that the number of samples of suspect product
that they are being asked to analyse has grown, from January/February
last year to January/February this year, ten-fold. That, to my
mind, is a very clear indication as to how this is escalating
(Mr Murray) We must be a little bit careful. Unless
I spend a lot of money, I cannot produce the facts that you are
asking me for but if I do not produce them it is hearsay and yet
it is happening.
14. Would it be fair to say that this is
not exactly anything new? Where you have fairly cheap fuel, you
are always going to have smuggling. Is that right?
(Mr Murray) You are absolutely right. It is nothing
new in the context of the border. There has been something smuggled
over the border since 1920. It depends what is worth doing. Just
off the top of my head, it is probably the same people doing it,
fathers and sons. I have no evidence to that effect, but it is
good fun and the border is there and there is a lot of money to
be made. It is a way of life. I think somebody in this room said,
"Can you really kill the problem in Crossmaglen?" It
has been there since the twenties but that is the way it is. Of
course, fuel did flow the other way at some point in the past
but a lot of water has moved under the bridge. Differentials are
now way ahead of what they were in the other direction about ten
15. It would be reasonable to say that the
supply companies might expect this to be happening at the moment
because of this differential. I wonder if you are aware of any
efforts the supply companies have made to assist the dealers through
price support to try and counter or offset this incentive to smuggle?
(Mr McGrath) Yes indeed. Unfortunately, the stance
taken by some of the hypermarkets is that they are actually matching
locations that are selling illegal product. The price they are
selling at would very clearly indicate that. Where we have a number
of filling stations that were closed, these are now opening up
again. The pump prices which they are selling at, without shop
business or any other form of diversification, if they were selling
legitimate product, they could not survive. Unfortunately, some
of the hypermarkets are matching these prices.
(Mr Murray) Let's face it: if you have invested
£X million in a hypermarket in Northern Ireland and fuel
is, if you like, your attractive bit, you really have to get a
return on your investment. You really have no alternative but
to try and match the prices in the locality.
16. There is no real price support in that
sense for the smaller, local dealer?
(Mr McGrath) Generally, the major companies are
not interested in getting into a contractual situation with volumes
less than 6,000 gallons. There is no support for the smaller sites
17. Can I turn to the question of Customs
and Excise? I think you said to some of my colleagues in January
that you were less than happy about their response to some evidence
that you had supplied to them and some representations you had
made. I just wondered if the situation has changed at all since
(Mr Murray) Finding people who are happy with
Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue is a difficult task.
It is the relative state of unhappiness, you might say. We made
a decision in LOPG to have dialogue with Customs and Excise as
a constructive way forward. We took a very strong line in the
beginning. We went for a potential judicial review. You are not
doing your statutory job; you should get on and do it. They softened
up a bit on that. A letter from Dr Mowlam and Adam Ingram says,
"This is not our bailiwick. This is the Treasury. Sorry,
old boy." I find that difficult, coming from Northern Ireland,
but that is the way it is because the problem is in Northern Ireland
and it is a uniquely Northern Ireland problem. Customs and Excise,
in my view, have certainly tried to do more. Whether they have
the resources to do it and whether the political will is there
to assist them to do it when it is required I am not so sure.
Quite a proportion of the activity we are talking about is in
border areas. If they are going to do their job effectively, the
Customs and Excise are not exactly the SAS and they are going
to need back-up in the form of military, police and whatever.
It strikes us that after one pretty notable success just around
the time we last met, I think it was, following that there has
been a lot of talk but not a lot has happened.
(Mr McGrath) On the situation regarding Customs,
we are unhappy with the situation in that up to now they have
only been dealing with contaminated diesel or laundered diesel.
They have done very little regarding petrol, with one exception.
They seized a 20,000 litre load of petrol on 16 February. As far
as I know, that is the only amount of petrol that they have seized.
When confronted with the situation, a senior official said to
me, "In that respect, we have been burying our heads in the
sand as regards petrol".
(Mr Murray) Frankly, they have an impossible task.
It does not matter how hard they work or how many resources you
give them. There is too much money. How do you cope with an unbranded
commodity product? A motor car is one thing; it has a stamp and
initials and goodness knows what, but an unbranded commodity product
with tax differentials, out of sight, on a land based border of
300 miles, you are never going to control it with the amount of
money there is to be made. I would not spend my money trying to
control it. I do not think it is controllable, frankly, at the
level it is now at.
18. I will preface a couple of questions
of my own with a brief anecdote. I shall not reveal whether the
source of the anecdote was the person in an official position
or the person whom he was going to visit, but I did hear it from
one of them. A Chancellor of the Exchequer visiting Belfast before
the troubles concluded his business reasonably early and indicated
that it would be extremely congenial from his point of view if
he could visit a friend near the border. A posse set out from
Belfast containing the Chancellor of the Exchequer and a number
of official looking cars. There was a drive of reasonable length
leading up to the house in question. As the posse wound its way
up the drive, the friend, who had no notice whatever that the
Chancellor was coming and who assumed that the visit was for some
other purpose, decided to go to ground so the Chancellor never
actually saw the friend whom he had come to see. That seems to
be in line with some of the narrative which you have been describing.
Cross border pricing differentials in road fuels and other areas
are nothing new in principle. I think you acknowledged that in
earlier answers. It has been suggested that a number of Northern
Ireland firms open garages close to the border to exploit the
drive-over market when the duty differential favoured purchase
in Northern Ireland. That is historical. To what extent is the
problem we are talking about now exacerbated by distortions in
the locations of filling stations in Northern Ireland, particularly
in border areas, so as to take advantage of a duty differential
that has since changed direction?
(Mr Murray) The PRA will be able to answer that
question more definitively than I will. I will give you my best
attempt at it. If you are a businessman, you do what is businesslike.
If it means having filling stations on both sides of the border,
one doing well and one doing badly from one decade to the next,
that is business but that is not really the issue that we are
talking about. That is a commercial decision by somebody to do
that. There will be casualties of inefficiency in any business,
people who simply do not manage well or operate well. Ballycastle
and Comber are about as far from the border as you can get and
I do believe you will buy smuggled product in both Ballycastle
and Comber. It is province-wide. It is known to be province-wide
and, if it has been that bad in the last year, it can only get
19. We talked round this subject on the
previous occasion when we met informally. What is your group's
preferred solution to the problem? I say that inevitably against
the background of the decisions which the Chancellor announced
a week ago.
(Mr Murray) In stating one's preferred options,
the practicality of putting them into practice is not a great
concern to me. Whether they are practical or not, I am not quite
sure, but if you take the fact that doing nothing is not an option,
if you take the fact that the policing of the border in terms
of stamping this out is not a possibility, that in my view and
in LOPG's view leaves only one possible option. That is harmonisation
or rebate to get back to a reasonably close level of excise duty.
That, if you examine it, appears to answer all the options. We
are in the line of diminishing returns at the moment. The Republic
of Ireland must be having a wonderful time. They have their lower
level of duty and their volume is going through the roof. Their
Exchequer must be terribly happy. We are on a line of diminishing
returns in the north of Ireland. The businessman puts a filling
station either side of the border. The government should consider
what is the best option here. Do we collect £100 million
per annum or say goodbye to £150 million? The answer is you
collect £100 million if you can. That is where I would be
coming from. That may be very simple for me to say but it does
seem to be the practical solution. I know there will be political
arguments and lots of difficulties but that seems to be the right
answer. I have five points here and I will give your Clerk a copy.
You have to clamp down on the washing of diesel. It has nothing
to do with the border, but it is now becoming a way of making
money which is filtering into Glasgow, Carlisle and Liverpool
and the day it hits Surrey you will probably understand what is
happening here. I say that in the nicest possible way but the
washing of diesel is a big, big money-maker and it is happening
on an increasing scale. It is damaging engines. That is why we
have our local laboratories having a ten-fold increase testing
on fuels in the last 12 months. The third thing which I think
is important for LOPG is that there is ownership of the problem
in Northern Ireland. That is no slating of the Treasury and the
job that they do, but in Northern Ireland with its various problems
you seem to get results when everybody is pulling in the same
direction. That means Inland Revenue, DHSS, the Collector of Taxes,
Customs and Excise, the police and the Government all pulling
in the same direction. Then you tend to get some results. I am
not sure if there should not be a "supremo" appointed
to sort out this particular issue because at the moment there
does not seem to be any one person who is coordinating this operation.
If you do have some rebate for NI, as we mentioned the last time
round, then you have to police the Irish Sea in terms of rebated
fuel finding its way across the Channel, but that is a very much
easier task than trying to police a 300 mile land border. The
fifth point I would make is something I have no knowledge of at
all but I did notice some time ago that Jack Straw said he was
forming a national confiscation agency to somehow get his hands
on the assets of the drug barons. Is that legislation happening
and is it going to also include the ill gotten gains of smugglers?
Will it be brought into Northern Ireland, because if it is not
it should be. It would appear that a number of existing criminals
in Dublin have moved to the United Kingdom mainland following
the introduction of that legislation in Dublin and it should be
brought to bear in Northern Ireland on the ill-gotten gains of
smugglers. Those are five points that we have made, hopefully
constructively, because we really do not see how else the problem
can be effectively tackled.
20. When we met beforeand it was
partly as a consequence of Parliamentary Answers which had been
givenyou were concerned that the amount of money that the
Treasury was losing was not sufficient in the greater sum of things
for the Treasury law enforcement officers to be pursuing it vigorously.
Do you take the same view two months later?
(Mr Murray) Those that live in the peripheral
parts of the United Kingdom tend to enjoy smiling at those who
live in the hub of London a little bit. There seems to me to be
something unfortunate about a letter from the Treasury that said
£100 million really was not a lot of money in the context
of the United Kingdom. That did not go down terribly well in Northern
Ireland and you might understand. Why? Because it is a hell of
a lot of money in Northern Ireland and it is probably £150
million. For 1.5 million people, that is a lot of money going
missing. The problem is greater today than it was then and I see
no way of legitimately collecting that money effectively, frankly.
There is no connection between the two things but I see the enthusiasm
there is for selling Belfast Port for £100 million to build
two or three bypasses and here is £150 million going missing
every year in a road related activity.
Chairman: I can only
comment myself, having participated in the budget debate and read
the whole debate, that the number of back bench contributions
which did dwell on the subject of smugglingI acknowledge
covering different products in different parts of the kingdomdid
show a marked increase, perhaps in line with the amount of smuggling
which was believed to be taking place. Before we close, do either
Mr Donaldson or Mr Beggs want to ask anything?
Mr Beggs: Mine has
been covered, thank you.
Mr Donaldson: I have
questions for the next group.
21. We are extremely grateful to you for
having come today. Let me conclude by asking whether there is
anything that you were expecting us to have asked you which we
have not asked?
(Mr Murray) I had no idea what you were going
to ask me so preparation was useless. I know what I know and I
have told you what I know. I have one general comment to make.
I ask myself: is the pursuit of low direct taxation really tenable
in the face of a differential in taxes across Europe, to the extent
that indirect taxes are of such a differential nature? Is it really
sustainable? I leave the floor with the question. I do not think
it is, really.
22. You are the first witness that I can
recall having given evidence to us since July 1997 who has concluded
with a question. Since that is a first, let me express our appreciation
first for your coming and secondly for the way in which you and
Mr McGrath have answered our questions.
(Mr Murray) Thank you very much indeed and I hope
you are able to do something with the evidence that has been given.