Written answers

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Legal Cases

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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60. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the position regarding the report on the collapse of a trial (details supplied) which was submitted to her by the ODCE in July 2017; if she has received the advice she sought from the Attorney General on this matter; her plans in relation to this report and the future of the agency; her views on media reports that the Government is considering replacing the ODCE with a new stand alone agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43203/17]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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I received a report under Section 955(1)(a) of the Companies Act 2014 from the Director of Corporate Enforcement on 23rd June.  This Report addresses the issues highlighted by Judge Aylmer in his ruling in the case of DPP v Sean Fitzpatrick. The report sets out the facts relating to the case and does not purport to be an investigation or an enquiry.

It covers the main issues directed at the ODCE by Judge John Aylmer in his ruling on 23 May 2017. This includes

- the coaching of witness statements;

- late disclosure of documents;

- a perceived bias by ODCE investigators; and

- the shredding of documents.

I have sought the advice of the Attorney General, specifically as to whether there are any legal impediments to publishing the report and discussing its contents in the Oireachtas and further advice is awaited.

It is important that any actions we take are done with full knowledge and in line with fair procedures, due process and natural justice.

It is my intention to publish the Report subject to the advice of the Attorney General.

It is my intention to change the structure of the ODCE from an office to an independent statutory agency.  This will provide greater autonomy to the agency and ensure it is better equipped to investigate increasingly complex breaches of company law.  Sourcing of expertise and specialist staff will be enhanced under the agency model.


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