Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach

General Scheme of the Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Bill 2021: Central Bank

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Aontú)
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Gabhaim míle buíochas leis na h-aíonna as teacht isteach anseo agus as an gcur i láthair a chur os ár gcomhair. I thank the witnesses for their presentation. We welcome this proposed legislation and hope it achieves a change of culture as outlined in the objectives relating to it.

I wish to take the focus back a little, if I may. At the heart of this is the threat of white collar crime and the effect it has on corporate governance and society, as well as the significant costs it has on society. The State takes a fractured approach to white collar crime. There are several locations of investigation, of which the Central Bank of Ireland is one. Legislation is currently going through the Oireachtas to establish the corporate enforcement authority. Obviously, the Garda has an involvement in this area. There are also probably half a dozen commissions of investigation currently going through the system and those commissions of investigation are anything but satisfactory. They have been going on for years and are costing massive amounts of money. I am thinking of the commissions of investigation relating to NAMA and the IBRC. Would it not be better for the State to have a department or an office of investigations that could actually build the critical skill sets needed to be able to enforce and investigate? It could ensure there are efficient investigations that are timely and do not cost a bomb. That is not a matter specific to this legislation; it is relevant to it and to other legislation. I would like to hear the views of our guests on that issue.