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O’Brien calls for real and meaningful change in corporate culture

18 May, 2011 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD


Speaking in the Dáil this evening on the Criminal Justice Bill Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien called for a real and meaningful change in corporate culture in this state.

During the course of his contribution Deputy O’Brien spoke in support of a new helpline from Transparency International called ‘Speak Up’ which offers support for people with ethical dilemmas or have concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace.

Deputy O’Brien said:

“At the outset I would like to say that we must bring about a real and meaningful change in corporate culture in this state.

“I do understand the Ministers sense of urgency in relation to white collar crime. I also believe that taking this particular bill in isolation and not putting it into context with regard to other promised legislation is not ideal.

“What we need is a timetable for key white-collar crime prevention measures and real legislation that will deal with the corporate rot in this state including; the establishment of liability for corruption offences; corruption immunity or a leniency programme for certain witnesses who are also accomplices to offences; and comprehensive corporate liability.

“Companies being investigated for white collar crime must clearly show that they had preventative anti-bribery mechanisms in place and this must be taken into account in assessing liability and sentencing.

“We need a firm commitment that there will be adequate re-sourcing for the Gardaí and regulatory agencies in order to investigate and detect offences. This has been put into question by recent statements from the AGSI that there are insufficient officers in the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations to tackle white-collar crime.

“There should be clear sentencing guidelines for the judiciary for corruption-related offences. We should not have a situation where thieves in tracksuits go to jail and those in suits go home.

“Sinn Féin has called for the use of socio-economic victim impact statements and relevant expert analysis in courts.

“We need the instant introduction of legislation dealing with Whistleblowers.

“This will not only increase the amount of white-collar crime prosecutions and introduce a greater level of accountability within companies but could help formulate an ethos, without the nods and winks, where the truth teller is protected and financial corruption is not tolerated in any way, shape or form.

“In the absence of this legislation Transparency International are launching a new helpline on Thursday 26th of May entitled “Speak Up”. It will be a free information helpline offering support for people with ethical dilemmas or have concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace. It is one of the first of its kind in Western Europe and is partly funded by the European Union.” ENDS

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