Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Dara Calleary TD has expressed his concern at revelations that the number of gardaí involved in the Anglo investigation has more than halved in the last year.
Deputy Calleary was commenting after Judge Peter Kelly confirmed today that only 11 gardaí and 8 members of the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) are now involved in investigating financial irregularities at Anglo Irish Bank. That’s compared to 27 gardaí and 16 ODCE officers in 2010, as reported by the Garda Commissioner at the time.
“It is deeply worrying that the Justice Minister Alan Shatter is allowing such gaping holes to emerge in the staffing of this critically important investigation,” said Deputy Calleary.
“This is the largest and most complex investigation of its kind ever undertaken in this State. There is massive and genuine demand among the public that the necessary resources are provided to ensure a robust and comprehensive approach to this case. The last Government made it a priority to ensure that this case was properly resourced and adequately staffed.
“Minister Shatter seemed to realise the need for this when he was in opposition, and was characteristically vocal on the subject. He now seems to have lost his voice or forgotten his urgency on the matter since taking up office and has allowed a situation to develop where the investigation is now operating on a relative shoe-string.
“Fine Gael’s hypocrisy since the election has been prolific, but this issue is a particularly frustrating example. In February, at the launch of Fine Gael’s Banking Strategy, Michael Noonan promised to ‘prioritise’ the Anglo investigation if elected:
“People are very upset that after two years of banking scandals nobody has been made amenable to the law … we want to make sure that people are made accountable and that it proceeds very quickly. Two years is a very long time…we want to see people answering in court” – Michael Noonan, 04 February 2012.
Deputy Calleary concluded, “We now know that Fine Gael election promises are a devalued currency, but the public demand for action in this case is still as real as it was when Michael Noonan made his comment. FF in Government knew the importance of this and made sure the case was properly resourced. Fine Gael in Government continue to talk the talk but have presided over the halving of the investigation team! What has happened to the urgency?
“I am again appealing to Minister Shatter to ensure that specialist Garda units involved in fraud investigation and white collar crime are kept outside the recruitment embargo in An Garda Síochána. The officers that have recently retired from the Anglo investigation must be replaced urgently and the commitment shown to this investigation by the last Government must be restored.”