Speaking following today’s Joint Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment meeting on the establishment of a standalone Corporate Enforcement Agency, Sinn Féin spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD criticised the failure to fund and resource the agencies tackling white collar crime.
Also speaking in the committee, Senator Paul Gavan called on the Tánaiste to ensure the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement is given the extra resources it needs for the investigation into the Football Association of Ireland.
Challenging the Tánaiste in the Committee, Teachta O’Reilly said:
“At the committee last week, representatives of the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) spoke at length about the need for additional fencing, resources, and powers in order to help them in their battle against corruption and white-collar crime.
“The under-funding of the ODCE is a political decision, the office gets it’s funding from Government, and if that funding is insufficient, then that is a political failure.
“In 2007, the accounting firm RSM Robson Rhodes estimated that Ireland was losing €2.5 billion a year from economic crime. If that figure is applied to the past 14 years, that’s a potential loss of €35 billion to the Irish economy.
“The economic and social costs of corruption and white-collar crime far outweigh other forms of crime, and yet it has consistently received far less funding, resources, and political attention from successive Governments.
“It is time this State takes this crime seriously, and as the ODCE transitions to a standalone Corporate Enforcement Authority, it is imperative that it is not only given additional funding and resources, but additional powers to help keep pace with technological advancements, such as seizing data and information that is stored in the cloud.”
Senator Paul Gavan said:
“The collapse of the retrial of Sean FitzPatrick and the ensuing criticism of the investigation, highlighted the need for additional resources and structural changes for the ODCE.
“However, the reports today that the ODCE needs five additional persons to aid in the examination of documents seized from the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) indicate that while structural changes have been forthcoming, the provision of resources from the Government have not.
“It is imperative, given what happened in the FitzPatrick trial and the implications of the recent 2017 Supreme Court decision on data and privacy rights, that every single necessary resource requested by the ODCE in their investigation into the FAI is provided.
“This is a huge investigation with significant public interest, especially amongst football fans all across this island, and there can be no excuse for the ODCE not receiving additional funding and resources it needs.”