From top: Former Anglo Irish Bank boss Seán FitzPatrick and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphries
And don’t call her Shirley.
In May of last year, the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil that the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) would provide a full report into the collapse of the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chief Seán FitzPatrick.
Mr FitzPatrick was acquitted of furnishing false information to Anglo’s auditors last year.
It followed solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) Kevin O’Connell admitting that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Mr FitzPatrick, among other matters.
On Sunday, Stephen O’Brien, in The Sunday Times, reported that the ODCE’s 235-page report on the failed trial, replete with 3,000 pages of appendices, will not be published.
[It was delivered to the then Minister for Enterprise Frances Fitzgerald in June 2017]
Mr O’Brien reported:
“The ODCE report includes correspondence with third parties, internal emails, and draft witness statements.
A source familiar with the document said: “It provides a detailed and fact-based narrative of the various factors that contributed to the trial judge directing the jury to acquit the accused. Under no circumstances could it be considered a whitewash.”
Further to this…
The Business and Enterprise Minister Heather Humphreys was interviewed by Áine Lawlor on RTÉ’s News at One this afternoon about the refusal to publish the full report and the decision to, instead, publish a 30-page summary-like document about the shortcomings.
The following exchange came after Ms Humphreys – who said she intends to turn the ODCE into an independent statutory agency and said the ODCE has since received more money and staff – insisted the ODCE is doing a “lot of good work”.
Áine Lawlor: “We have heard all these promises about transparency and accountability and resources and all the rest before. The track record, as you’ve referred to yourself, is patchy to say the least.
“Now, the Cabinet, the Government has, according to media reports, a 235-page report from the ODCE, with 3,000 pages of appendices, going through all the previous failings. Now given that Anglo Irish and IBRC, between them cost the Irish State and taxpayer nearly €35billion and that debt is still there in the national debt – why should the public not have the fullest account?
“Why are we only getting this 30 pages that you’ve published today?”
“Surely we deserve full transparency here?”
Heather Humphreys: “Yeah, well I just want to say that I’d like to be able to publish this report but I can’t. Because of legal advice, I would be contravening the Companies Act, if I did so – that’s why I have, today, published an account of the shortcomings identified by Judge Aylmer…I just want to make sure that what happened in the past, and it is historic now, will not happen again.”
Lawlor: “Well, saying it’s historic is all, the point about all of these things is whether we’re learning from the historic mistakes or whether we’re doomed to repeat them. How do we know that you are actually, minister, in the measures you’re taking, doing what’s needed – when we don’t have the fullest view of what went wrong in the past?”
Humphreys: “Well, what I’m saying is, is that, you know, it’s not legally possible for the minister to publish the report under Section 955 of the Companies Act and that’s why I’m publishing an account of the shortcomings…”
Listen back in full here
Related: ODCE report on Sean FitzPatrick trial collapse to stay confidential (Stephen O’Brien, The Sunday Times)
Cabinet approves proposed changes to ODCE (RTÉ)
Previously: ‘The Minister Has Asked The ODCE For A Full Report’