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Ireland's corporate watchdog is suffering from a chronic staff shortage

There has been a 25% reduction in the number of staff at the ODCE in the past six years.

shutterstock_404146948 Source: Shutterstock/ImYanis

IRELAND’S CORPORATE WATCHDOG is suffering from  ”dangerously low staffing levels” according to a TD.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has seen a 25% reduction in staffing levels in the past six years, per the result of a parliamentary question submitted by Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins.

Meanwhile, the number of gardaí working at the ODCE has reduced by 50% in that time, from 10 to five.

A staff complement of seven gardaí are assigned at all times to the ODCE to assist with its criminal investigations and prosecutions.

90343076_90343076 Director of Corporate Enforcement Ian Drennan Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor says that Director Ian Drennan has requested of the Garda Commissioner that the two current senior vacancies in those roles be filled “as a matter of urgency”.

The number of gardaí at the ODCE topped out in the years after the economic crash as investigations into the goings-on at Anglo Irish Bank took centre stage.

Overall, the number of people working at the ODCE has reduced from 53 to 40 since 2010, a reduction of 26%.

odce Source: Department of Jobs

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“The ODCE requires both legal, law enforcement and accountancy expertise to fulfil its role,” said Collins, reacting to the figures.

The trend since 2010 has been to see a reduction in staffing support. It’s disturbing, and it must end now.

In reply to a query from TheJournal.ie, the ODCE said it has “has been seeking to more closely align its structures and skills mix with its statutory mandate”.

“Due to a combination of retirement, promotion and transfer, three senior civilian enforcement positions are currently vacant,” a spokesperson said.

The ODCE is currently working with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation with a view to filling these positions with suitably qualified and experienced candidates as expeditiously as possible.

The ODCE was set up in 2001 and has a broad role concerning both compliance with and enforcement or corporate law in Ireland.

It has been in the news most recently regarding the court case taken against former Anglo Chairman and Chief Executive Seán Fitzpatrick, when it emerged that one of the ODCE’s two legal advisers had shredded a “tiny proportion” of legal documents regarding the case in April 2015.

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