10th December 2020
On another busy Friday and our 9th remote contribution to the Greg Hughes Show, the early discussion revolved around the report by James Hamilton, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, published this week on white collared crime and the agencies investigating Corruption, Fraud and Economic crime. Our contributor, Seamus Gunn, was of the view that there are already 3 agencies in place, being SIPO (Standards in Public Office Commission), the ODCE (Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement) and the DPP (the Director of Public Prosecutions), but what was required was an emphasis on bringing together the various disciplines and properly funding them with the resources necessary to tackle an issue which has been ongoing for decades. He referred back to the Flood and Moriarty Tribunals in the late 1990s, both of which went on for the better part of a decade plus, Flood investigating planning matters while Moriarty’s emphasis was on payment to politicians.
Seamus Gunn also referenced the collapse of the prosecution of Sean Fitzpatrick by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in 2017 as a result of the potential infringement of his Constitutional Right to a Fair Trial, making the point that the issues that white collar crime give rise to and the remedies needed to tackle them have been in existence for some time and that while there may be the will to tackle the matter, the way has not yet been found. He highlighted some aspects of the recommendations in relation to search warrants to obtain electronic passwords, the extension of time for holding suspects to 7 days for the purpose of investigation, the required legislation to deal with former members of the Oireachtas who have contravened obligations while in office, as well as tackling nepotism and the improper use of influence, all of which he said would go a long way to addressing the issues but without the resources and the determination to see it through, he had some reservations. A comparison was drawn between insurance fraud investigation and white-collar crime. Our contributor was of the view that insurance fraud would pale into insignificance when measured against the potential criminal activity involved in managing € 1.8 trillion, which is Ireland’s exposure and risk to economic crime in the financial services. He said that while the report and the recommendations and the review was to be welcomed and the response to it, he would remain somewhat skeptical about its implementation going forward.
Some interesting land issues arose on the following Q&A session which continue to give rise to disputes between neighbors.