Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD responds to announcement of an independent investigation into extortion in Cherry Orchard
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South-Central Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said this evening that Minister Eoghan Murphy’s independent investigation into extortion relating to Cherry Orchard building sites runs the risk of becoming a ploy to bury an issue that has exposed major failings by his party colleagues and by the authorities.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh has said the Minister must ensure that the investigation has a tight timeframe, and that its findings be published and acted upon.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said;
“For this investigation to be effective, it must ensure that it looks at whether or not the case before the High Court at present is part of a pattern of intimidation and extortion of building contractors in the area, across the city and in the State in general.
“The announcement by Minister Eoghan Murphy comes on the back of revelations in and outside the Dáil that his predecessor as Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney, his colleague the then Minister for Justice now MEP Frances Fitzgerald, and senior Gardaí were made aware of extortionist demands, threats and criminal acts directed at builders of social housing in the Cherry Orchard area as far back as December 2016 and January 2017.
“The concerns that I raised with them were ignored or dismissed and no action was taken on foot of the letters I sent them. These letters had also been sent to senior management in Dublin City Council, the local TD and junior minister Catherine Byrne and to the housing body Cooperative Housing Ireland.
“What’s needed now is for an investigation to address the reason why Ministers and An Garda Síochána ignored my request for a meeting and that in fact Minster Francis Fitzgerald dismissed my concerns.
“It is unacceptable that certain communities are allowed to by held to ransom by criminal gangs as in this case.
“The investigation must contain an action plan to ensure there is no repeat of this crime when the large urban regeneration Cherry Orchard-Park West Local Area Plan, that includes 1,500 new homes, is being rolled out over the next few years.”