Quinlivan requests ODCE and Tánaiste to attend Oireachtas Committee to address white collar crime prosecution concerns
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Jobs and Enterprise Maurice Quinlivan has written to the Clerk of the Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation asking for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Francis Fitzgerald be invited to appear before the Committee to address serious concerns over the functioning of the ODCE and the prosecution of white collar crime in Ireland.
Speaking from Waterford, where the Business, Enterprise and Innovation Committee is meeting today, Deputy Quinlivan said;
“I have written to the Clerk of the Committee requesting an invitation be sent to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Tánaiste to appear before the Committee to answer questions on a number of concerning issues regarding the ODCE and the policing of white collar crime in Ireland.
“The collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial back in May highlighted serious failings in the ODCE investigation; which included the coaching of witness statements, the late disclosure of documents, a perceived bias by ODCE investigators, and the shredding of documents. The report on this shambolic investigation has been with the Tánaiste since June. However, despite my repeated requests, it has still not been published.
“It has now come to my attention, through a response to a parliamentary question, that the ODCE has brought no prosecutions and achieved no convictions in the past two years.
“Only 43 prosecutions have been brought by the ODCE in the past decade, a shockingly low amount over this period of time.
“It has also come to light that the most senior Garda position in the ODCE has been vacant since September 2016.
“In addition, the annual reports of the ODCE show that almost €6 million in its allocated funding has been returned to the state over in the past three years alone, including €2.7 million in 2016, in the same year when no prosecutions or convictions were achieved by this agency.
“The ODCE is charged with ensuring compliance with company law in Ireland and bringing to account those who breach these laws.
“These revelations paint an extremely worrying picture of the effectiveness of this agency and of the policing of white collar crime in Ireland.
“I think it is vitally important to invite the ODCE and the Tánaiste before the Committee to discuss these concerns and the role and functioning of the Office and how best we need to reform this agency, to ensure white collar crime is investigated as thoroughly as all other criminal behaviour in the state.”