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Government’s laissez-faire approach to white collar crime needs to change – Maurice Quinlivan TD

19 February, 2019 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin’s Maurice Quinlivan TD tonight welcomed the Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s decision to arrange further meetings to investigate what went wrong at the ODCE in the Seán Fitzpatrick investigation and trial. 

Teachta Quinlivan also said a serious attitude change is needed from the government in relation to tackling white collar crime in Ireland.

Speaking tonight the Limerick City TD said;

“Tonight is the first time we have heard from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement since the high profile collapse of Seán Fitzpatrick’s trial in May 2017 due to the botched ODCE investigation into the former Anglo executive.

“The Committee agreed this evening to seek the report the Director of the ODCE authored and sent to the Minister for Business back in June 2017. It is imperative we see this document to understand what went wrong at the ODCE so as to ensure the same costly mistakes are not repeated.

“In addition the Committee also decided to invite the legal advisor at the centre of the Seán Fitzpatrick investigation to appear before it. This is important, as Mr O’Connell stated in his correspondence to the committee that he would like an opportunity to air his side of the story, and ensure the full set of facts relating to mistakes and errors on the part of others, and not just himself, were heard.

“I was concerned to hear how constrained the ODCE is in investigating and prosecuting certain areas of white collar crime. The ODCE’s narrow legislative remit and small scale operation would not give me confidence that our large and growing corporate sector is being robustly monitored for compliance with the law. 

“I think it’s scandalous that in 2018 just 46 people are employed by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, and Sinn Féin believes a serious attitude shift is needed from the government in relation to addressing white collar crime in Ireland.

“Stronger powers, harsher penalties, and a more coordinated approach from all the state agencies involved in combating white collar crime is urgently needed.

“Unfortunately Fine Gael have continued Fianna Fáil’s laissez-faire approach to white collar crime, and they have learned no lessons from their head in the sand approach which was so disastrous ten years ago.

“What is being presented to us in the government’s new Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Bill 2018 seems to be a political rebranding exercise, trying to fix the tarnished brand of the ODCE, but not address the serious shortcomings in the powers needed to really tackle white collar crime in Ireland.”

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