A butcher who owed €2.8 million to Revenue in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties has been given a one year suspended sentence.

Thomas Kearney, from Gracedieu in Waterford city, got €6m in 2007 after selling 18 acres of land in Gracedieu to developers, McInerney, but did not declare Capital Gains.

He pleaded guilty to four charges relating to not filing returns.

Waterford Circuit Court heard that Kearney, who now works for his son in a butcher's shop in the city, had not made tax declarations in 2007 and 2008.

Of the €6m he received for the land, he invested €3m, paid off €1.4m worth of loans and spent €750,000 on a new house for himself.

He also gave one of his sons nearly €400,000 and another son €240,000.

The €3m worth of investments he made are now only worth €78,000.

The court heard Kearney now had a minus net worth of €5m, which includes loans of more than €2.5m to banks.

Defence counsel for Kearney said his client was not a man dealing with large amounts of money but would rather be out with his cattle, adding that Kearney did not profit from the monies he got and that they were all now gone.

Judge Pauline Codd said it was a serious offence due to the amount of tax not paid, but agreed he had not tried to hide it and that it was easily detectable.

She handed down a one year sentence, suspended for one year.