Thursday, 11 March 2021
Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2020 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages
I thank Deputies for supporting the Bill. The contributions made and points raised have been very useful and I am grateful for the consideration Deputies have given the matter. The Bill, while short and technical, is important legislation that will enable Ireland to give full effect to the directive on the fight against fraud on the European Union's financial interests by means of criminal law. Fraud against the EU's financial interests affects everyone and the Bill reflects an important update of Ireland's already strong regime against it.
Tackling economic crime and white-collar crime is a priority for the Government and An Garda Síochána. The Department published the findings of the Hamilton review group on 3 December 2020. As the Minister, Deputy McEntee, pointed out, these crimes damage the economy, breed cynicism in society and are a threat to our international reputation. The Department is leading a cross-government initiative to tackle these crimes and to ensure all agencies have the resources they need.
As the Minister of State outlined, this is a short technical Bill that has garnered support across the House. However, as it relates to a very narrow set of circumstances, as was recognised during the debate, I believe we need wider legislation to deal with matters outside the remit of the Bill.
I too am happy to speak in support of the Bill. I did so during its passage through the House. I welcome it. Deputy Tóibín raised an issue today but the Leas-Cheann Comhairle stopped him from pursuing it. She was correct in that regard because we must protect people. However, all is not well in the Department of Justice. I have been writing to the Minister of State, the senior Minister and the Secretary General about issues in the Prison Service but my letters have not even been an acknowledged. Members of this House are elected representatives for the time being and we are thankful for that.