Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Business, Billy Kelleher has said that he is concerned that the staffing complement at the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) is still considerably lower than it was in 2009.

Deputy Kelleher was commenting after receiving an update from the relevant Minister on total staff numbers at the ODCE over the past 10 years.

“It’s worrying to say the least that there are eight fewer staff members at the ODCE in overall terms and the same number of Gardaí at the time, despite a clear increase in the workload of the body.

36 staff members are currently employed by the ODCE in addition to seven Gardaí according to the PQ reply compared to 44 staff  in 2009.

“However, it’s worrying that there is no Corporate Compliance Manager, no Legal Adviser and no Principal Solicitors employed by the body.

“Questions need to be asked whether this is a satisfactory way of staffing the body. I would have thought that Legal Advisers and Principal Solicitors would be roles that would be absolutely crucial in fulfilling the investigative and legal functions of the ODCE.There has also been a 50% decrease in the number of solicitors working at the body since 2014.

“There are a number of high profile cases that may potentially be dealt with by the ODCE. I believe that additional legal expertise is required and that more investigative Gardaí should be assigned to the Office.

“We have to invest in the State’s ability to investigate corporate or white collar crime. Our citizens expect the State to ensure that those who do wrong are brought to book, and that requires expertise at all levels,” concluded Kelleher.