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The government has resorted to cynically re-announcing a pre-existing corruption bill in a bid to make itself look busy, Róisín Shortall TD said today.

The co-leader of the Social Democrats was commenting on the announcement by the Minister for Justice that the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Bill 2017 was discussed at cabinet yesterday.

“This Bill has been on the books since 2012 and it is cynically being re-announced now in a desperate bid by this government to make itself took busy on the anti-corruption front. This is truly a case of serving up old wine in new bottles. What I would like to know is why, five years after this promised law was first announced, has it not advanced any further?

“It is being sold to us as a key piece of legislation that will go a long way towards meeting Ireland’s obligations under a number of international anti-corruption instruments, and to addressing some recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal.

“But the Mahon Tribunal made its recommendations in March 2012 and this Bill was originally published in June 2012 (see Department of Justice press release) and is already on the government’s current legislative programme.

Deputy Shortall added:

“To re-announce a five-year-old piece of legislation is one thing. To back it with resources needed to ensure successful enforcement, detection and prosecution is quite another. As we have seen from the recent collapse of the trial of Seán Fitzpatrick, our corruption and white-collar crime laws only work if they are matched by proper resources and expertise.

“The Social Democrats have consistently called for the establishment of a robust and fully resourced Independent Anti-Corruption Agency to tackle white collar crime and corruption in the corporate world and political spheres. In the absence of a dedicated law enforcement agency, we will continue to see fine laws on our statute books which meet international standards but which lead to few actual consequences for corrupt behaviour.”


27 July 2017

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