Banking Inquiry agrees to redact 'Arbeit macht frei' phrase from Johnny Ronan statement

Banking Inquiry agrees to redact 'Arbeit macht frei' phrase from Johnny Ronan statement

The inquiry into the banking crisis has agreed to remove a Nazi death camp slogan from a developer’s evidence.

Requests to retract statements are normally refused but given the “exceptional circumstances” of Johnny Ronan’s testimony, the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry said it would remove the offending remarks.

Treasury Holdings owner Mr Ronan, who bought Battersea power station in London in 2006, rounded off a statement to the inquiry last week with the German phrase “Arbeit macht frei” – work sets you free.

The words are notorious for being emblazoned on the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp and other camps, where millions of Jews were murdered during the Second World War.

Former justice minister Alan Shatter had demanded the slogan be removed from the developer’s statement, but the inquiry said last week it had no powers to do so.

Mr Ronan apologised over the weekend for the remark and asked for its removal from his testimony.

In a statement, the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry said investigating TDs and senators on the committee agreed to redact Mr Ronan’s written statement.

“The committee normally rejects applications to amend statements once they have been submitted,” they stated.

“However, in this case, the phrase at issue contains no evidential value and has the potential to continue to cause offence.

“In these exceptional circumstances the joint committee has agreed to the redaction of the last line of Mr Ronan’s witness statement.”

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