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Mairéad Farrell TD calls for clarity on Attorney General and for his interests to be subject to FOI

4 October, 2021 - by Mairéad Farrell TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Mairéad Farrell TD, has called for the Attorney General’s list of interests to be brought under the remit of FOI or to be included as part of the list of Members’ registerable interests.

She warned that this is needed to restore confidence that senior officials are maintaining the highest standards of probity.

Teachta Farrell said:

"The Attorney General is bound by the Oireachtas Code of Conduct for Office Holders. So I can’t understand how a situation arose where he was permitted to wear two hats at once by continuing to practice privately? This seems like a conflict of interest.

"The Code of Conduct, in accordance with the provisions of the Ethics Acts, states that office holders must have regard to and be guided by the Code in the performance of their functions.

"Our Ethics legislation states that the Attorney General shall furnish the Taoiseach with a 'statement in writing' of any material interest he has related to a function he is carrying out. For elected officials the list of members' registerable interests include their other occupations and directorships, shares and properties they own and gifts they have received.

"We know that the AG failed to do this, and as it was revealed by the investigative news site the Ditch on Friday, his property portfolio is worth around €8.5 million. The information on the Attorney General’s interests is also not available through FOI.

"This is something that now needs to be changed, either by making it a requirement for the Attorney General to list his interests in a publicly accessible way, or for this information to be made available through FOI."

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