McDonald reveals names of politicians 'in dossier of alleged tax evasion'

A Sinn Féin TD has used Dáil privilege to name a number of politicians she says have been named in a dossier of alleged tax evasion.

McDonald reveals names of politicians 'in dossier of alleged tax evasion'

A Sinn Féin TD has used Dáil privilege to name a number of politicians she says have been named in a dossier of alleged tax evasion.

Mary Lou McDonald named several prominent former TDs, including a number of Ministers, during Leaders' Questions this lunchtime.

"I emphasise these are allegations," she said.

Enda Kenny said the allegations, raised in a dossier given to TDs by a civil servant whistleblower, were now in the hands of the Gardaí.

Using parliamentary privilege, Mary Lou McDonald named several political figures whose names, she claims, have appeared in the dossier.

"The whistleblower alleges Des O'Malley, Ray McSharry, Gerard Collins, Máire-Geoghan Quinn, an 'S Barrett', Richie Ryan (a former Minister for Finance), and others."

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett said: "I wish to state quite categorically: in case anybody is under any doubts when you say ‘S Barrett’, it does not apply to me."

Government backbenchers have also hit out at the Sinn Féín move describing it as a blatant abuse of Dáil privilege.

Labour TD Joe Costello has also questioned whether Deputy McDonald is fit to remain as a member of the Public Accounts Committee.

Ray Mac Sharry later issued a statement, saying: "Outrageous that anybody can make such wild allegations when there is no foundation whatsoever as far as I am concerned.

"I never had an Ansbacher Account. I never had a Guinness & Mahon Acocunt.

"I never benefited from any Ansbacher or Guinness & Mahon account. I have been in touch with my lawyer to see what action I can take."

Maire Geoghegan Quinn later issued a brief statement, which read: "I have never had an Ansbacher Account. Neither have I ever had an account with Guinness and Mahon Bank."

Des O'Malley also made a statement soon after the exchange in the Dáil.

"I am informed that an allegation was made in Dáil Eireann today by a Sinn Féin Deputy under privilege that my name is on a list of former ministers who allegedly used so-called Ansbacher accounts in order to evade paying tax in Ireland," the statement read.

"This list, and allegations of tax evasion have been extensively investigated already by the Revenue Commissioners, the Gardaí and the Moriarty Tribunal several years ago. Despite this it is being raised again.

"The reason for my being on that list is quite simply that I had a particular form of account with Guinness Mahon Bank.

"On appointment as Minister for Industry and Commerce in 1977 I was aware that I had shares in some of the companies that I would be dealing with. In order to avoid a conflict of interest and allegations of acting in my capacity as Minister for my personal benefit, I followed a practice that is standard in other countries and put my assets into a blind trust. I was advised at the time that Guinness Mahon Bank had experience of operating such trusts.

"The nature of a blind trust is that the owner of the assets in the trust (usually held in shares) gives power of attorney for control of his relevant assets to trustees. As the beneficiary I had no knowledge of what stocks or shares were held on my behalf.

"I received dividends annually through Guinness Mahon Bank and I paid tax on these in Ireland. My tax affairs remain in full compliance with the Revenue Commissioners. I have never availed of a tax amnesty and indeed opposed it when the Fianna Fáil /Labour government introduced one in 1993.

"In 1977 Guinness Mahon was a perfectly respectable bank. I never had any dealings with the late Des Traynor while he was in that bank or otherwise.

"I never had what is called ‘an Ansbacher account’. I believe that such an account would have been a breach of trust by the bank in its dealings with me."

Gerard Collins has also made a statement denying the allegations.

Former Finance Minister Richie Ryan expressed his outrage at the allegations.

“I never had an Ansbacher account, or an account by Guinness Mahon,” he said.

“I consider it outrageous that an allegation of this kind has been made by abusing Dáil privilege.”

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