Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise & Innovation, Niall Collins has said that today’s announcement of white collar crime measures are nothing new, and are just a tired rehash of previously announced plans and failed legislation.
“Putting a new cover on a plan and changing the title has been Fine Gael’s modus operandi for the past six years.
“Fine Gael’s apparent mantra of ‘keep spinning until the people cop on’ delivers nothing for our country and only reinforces the belief among our citizens that politicians are incapable of delivering on promises.
“Reforming how the State investigates and deals with white collar crime has been a fig leaf during Fine Gael’s time in office. Their 2011 Programme for Government contained many commitments, yet six years later, many have still not been delivered.
“The failed Sean Fitzpatrick investigation is a case in point. Its collapse, after becoming the longest running criminal trial in Irish history demonstrates that when push comes to shove, Fine Gael’s ability do what is needed is called into question.
“Ministerial oversight of the ODCE under successive Fine Gael Enterprise ministers has been woefully inadequate.
“I have no doubt that if the ODCE had the correct level of resources, including those with specialist experiences, the Fitzpatrick case would have turned out differently.
“Of course, there is merit in many of the re-spun reforms. For example, establishing the ODCE as an independent agency to enforce company law is welcome, but this proposal is nothing new.
“The only way to measure the sincerity of the Government’s reforms will be in their delivery. Minister Fitzgerald must publish the draft legislation as soon as possible, and ensure that the ODCE is placed on a statutory footing immediately.
“Many of the reforms outlined today are just re-announcements of bills that were previously brought forward but were never enacted by the Oireachtas.
“Legislative scrutiny of the Criminal Justice (Corruption) Bill was completed in 2013; the Criminal Procedure Bill was approved in 2015, and the Companies (Statutory Audits) Bill implementing two 2014 EU directives has been in legislative limbo for far too long.
“Today’s rehashed white collar plans once again expose the record of poor delivery by Fine Gael in office. For a party who were out of office for so long, it beggars belief that when given the ability to make a difference, they have consistently failed,” concluded Collins.