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Can the PAC interview a whistleblower who says former politicians dodged tax?

The Public Accounts Committee is to seek further legal advice.

The Revenue Commissioners offices at Dublin Castle
The Revenue Commissioners offices at Dublin Castle
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS Committee (PAC) is to seek further advice on whether it can bring a whistleblower who claims former senior politicians dodged tax before it to give evidence.

The PAC met for around two hours in private session this morning to hold further discussions on a document submitted to it in recent weeks under the Protected Disclosures Act by Department of Jobs whistleblower Gerry Ryan.

Ryan claims to have uncovered evidence in 2003 and 2004 that former politicians were the beneficial owners of accounts in the Cayman Islands that were linked to the Ansbacher controversy. He says that information he uncovered was not dealt with by ministers of various governments and state agencies.

There has been conflicting legal advice over whether or not PAC can investigate the dossier and whether it can call Ryan before it.

Last week, the PAC was legally advised that it cannot immediately investigate the dossier as it does not fall within the remit of the Comptroller and Auditor General. However, Ryan’s legal advice is said to dispute this.

Revenue to be called

The committee agreed this morning to call the Revenue Commissioners before it to discuss its investigation into the Ansbacher controversy and it will also seek further legal clarity on whether or not it can call Ryan and the potential pitfalls if he gives evidence.

One committee source said TDs were told by the (C&AG) that any criminal prosecutions in the matter would be unlikely given the lack of a sufficient paper evidence to mount such prosecutions.

There was reportedly dispute between Fine Gael TDs and other members of the committee over whether Ryan should be brought before it, but the source said “everyone is on the same page”.

Meanwhile, Ryan has not yet met with Jobs Minister Richard Bruton over his allegations but will do so in the next week, a spokesperson for Bruton confirmed this afternoon.

Ryan claimed that Bruton ignored his allegations and delayed submitting Ryan’s witness statement to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation for two years.

Bruton attributed the delay to the retirement of officials dealing with the issue before the statement was eventually submitted last week.

The Minister has said repeatedly that all matters contained in Ryan’s statement are covered by documents already submitted to the relevant authorities between 2004 and 2010.

Explainer: What’s all this about a whistleblower, a dossier and some politicians dodging tax

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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