March 11, 2021
Legislation, resources and funding urgently needed to tackle corporate crime – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has said that, over a decade on from the casino capitalism that caused the banking crash in this state, the government and high finance still don’t get the message: White collar crime is crime. End of story.

Teahcta O’Reilly said:

“In recent weeks the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment held a number of pre-legislative scrutiny hearings on draft bills in the area of white-collar crime.

“The Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Bill and the Competition (Amendment) Bill, amongst other things, seek to empower the agencies tasked with investigating corporate and economic crime.

“At these committees, I and my Sinn Féin colleagues, spoke at length about the need for additional financing, resources and powers in order to help the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and other agencies, in investigating and tackling white collar crime.

“The lack of legislation to tackle corporate and economic crime and the underfunding and under resourcing of the agencies investigating white collar crime, has been de facto government policy for decades.

“Over a decade and three successive governments later, the lack of appetite to legislate, regulate and properly tackle corporate and economic crime is shocking.

“Indeed, it is over three years since the Central Bank called for a Senior Executive Accountability Regime, codified in legislation. However, there has been no urgency by two successive Governments to do this.

“It is for this reason that the casino capitalism, which caused the banking crash, still exists in the protected and gilded world of high finance.

“The ever-unfolding events and allegations of malpractice in relation to high finance serves as a reinforcement that this government, and in particular Fine Gael who have been in government for 10 years this week, do not see white collar crime the same as they see blue collar crime.

“This situation is infuriating given that 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 is 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. Despite corporate and economic crime bringing this state to its knees just a decade ago, it consistently received far less funding, resources, and political attention from successive governments.

“Instead of statements expressing shock after the fact, it is high time that a proactive approach of dealing with corporate and economic crime through legislation, resources, and funding is initiated.”

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