Join the queue for staff, Bertie tells corporate watchdog

The state's corporate watchdog will have to wait in line to get all the staff it wants, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil today.

The state's corporate watchdog will have to wait in line to get all the staff it wants, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil today.

Director of corporate enforcement Paul Appleby said he is forced to drop cases of wrongdoing against some executives because he needs at least 20 more employees.

The Enterprise, Trade and Employment Department today said it would make four extra staff available shortly and at least four more by the end of the year.

The Taoiseach said that Mr Appleby will have to wait his turn for the extra resources he requires.

Mr Ahern said during Leaders' Questions: "He has 36 staff at present and he will be getting more.

"The reason he's not getting all the staffing is that we made a priority in that department to create new labour inspectors.

"It's just a matter of priorities. It's not that his work is not considered important."

The Office of Corporate Enforcement was established in 2001 to tackle a culture of non-compliance with company laws following damaging Tribunal disclosures and banking scandals.

By mid-2005, the office had secured 130 convictions for company law offences and had pursued up to 400 company directors through the High Court for dishonest or irresponsible behaviour.

Mr Appleby said that only two of his staff can analyse data held on computers and this delayed his work.

The senior official is also seeking more than 20 additional staff, including six extra gardaí, to cope with a growing case load.

Mr Appleby is believed to have been corresponding with Government on the issue over the past two years.

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