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State must get serious about white collar crime in wake of Fitzpatrick trial – Adams

24 May, 2017 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has told Taoiseach Enda Kenny that “the state must get serious about white collar crime”.

He made the comments at Leaders Questions today in the wake of the collapse of the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank Chairperson Sean Fitzpatrick.

Speaking directly to An Taoiseach, Teachta Adams said;

“In 2016, there were 35 staff in the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. They were assisted by 5 Gardaí.

“So, this gives an insight into the state’s attitude to white collar crime and corporate enforcement.

“Under your watch, the staff of the office has been cut from 42 to 35. The number of Gardaí was cut by half.

“In 2005, 2006, and 2007, the Minister Teachta Micheál Martin refused requests from the Office to increase its workforce by 20. The office described its resources as wholly inadequate. Bertie Ahern dismissed this.

“That was when the bankers were running amok. They cost the people of this state billions of euro. We still do not have laws on reckless lending.

“The government spends just over €5 million on the office of Director of Corporate Enforcement. That is €5 million to investigate white collar crime.”

Deputy Adams urged the Taoiseach to look to international best-practice for tackling white collar crime including appropriate and properly resourced agencies and robust legislation.

Addressing the deficiencies in the ODCE’s case against Mr Sean Fitzpatrick, Mr Adams said:

“The chief investigator in the case of the former Chairman of Anglo Irish Bank had no previous experience and he admitted in evidence that he made many fundamental errors, including the destruction of documents.

“Given his lack of experience, who appointed him as chief investigator?

“Who was he accountable to?

“If the agency established to investigate corporate crime is not fit for purpose, then who is responsible for that?  Surely, it is the government.” 

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