Government to increase powers to tackle white-collar crime

Reforms to tackle white-collar crime and corruption will include the extension of surveillance powers already in use by gardaí and Revenue to other bodies
Government to increase powers to tackle white-collar crime

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said: "White-collar crime undermines confidence in our economic system and damages our economy itself. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The government will today publish its implementation plan on reforms to tackle white-collar crime and corruption, to be completed over the next 18 months and which will include the extension of surveillance powers already in use by gardaí and Revenue to other bodies.

The 22 actions arise from the Hamilton Review on Economic Crime and Corruption, which was published in December.

In what is the first cross-government plan on tackling economic crime, an Advisory Council against Economic Crime and Corruption will be established to make proposals on strategic and policy responses, by the autumn.

The advisory council will submit a multi-annual strategy to combat economic crime and corruption to Cabinet by next spring, with a resourcing plan for the long-term needs of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau to be submitted by An Garda Síochána to the Policing Authority and Department of Justice by this summer.

Extension of surveillance powers

Legislation to extend the surveillance powers currently available to An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners to other bodies with a remit to investigate economic crime and corruption to be developed by the end of 2021, among other legislative proposals.

Other actions include a review of the resourcing of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) to manage and support the prosecution of financial crime, judicial training in respect of complex economic crime /corruption cases, and a review of Ethics in Public Office as set out in the Programme for Government with a view to strengthening the law relating to ethics in public office including to address misconduct by former members of the Oireachtas/Officeholders.

There will also be a greater level of information-sharing between different bodies charged with tackling white-collar crime and the procurement of electronic documentary analysis and e-disclosure systems.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said: "White-collar crime undermines confidence in our economic system and damages our economy itself."

Those who commit such crimes will be caught and punished, and this implementation plan will give the State the tools to vigorously pursue those criminals. 

"But my plan is also necessary to ensure that Ireland’s reputation as an international hub for business is maintained and strengthened," she said.

“So much business, be it personal or by companies large or small, is now done online and our reforms will ensure that businesses and people can operate safely and securely.

“This implementation plan outlines 22 actions to progress the 25 recommendations in the Hamilton Review Group report, including the steps required and timelines.

“The plan identifies recommendations that can be implemented in the short term, such as the establishment of the new oversight structures, resource planning, and legislative actions which are included in the current legislative programme."

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