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Barrister appointed to investigate Dublin City Council 'protection money' allegations

Allegations emerged last month that a known criminal extorted money from building firms to pay for protection from anti-social behaviour.

Image: Shutterstock

THE MINISTER FOR Housing has appointed a barrister to investigate the role, if any, that Dublin City Council played in payments allegedly made to a convicted criminal in exchange for protection from anti-social behaviour on construction sites.

It emerged last month that a convicted drug dealer and his associate are alleged to have extorted money from construction companies by offering them protection from anti-social behaviour in return for thousands of euro per week. Evidence was presented by gardaí in relation to two social housing sites.

“I was extremely concerned by the matters that came to light during the recent court case,” Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said today as he appointed Patrick Butler SC to lead the statutory review.

Local authorities must be able to provide urgently needed social housing, in particular in disadvantaged communities, without interference or obstruction by criminal elements.

“There must at all times be full oversight, transparency and accountability in the local authority system to ensure that public funding is used for the purposes for which it is intended.

“The idea that a public body and public money might be dispersed in respect of criminal behaviour shocked many so we must get to the bottom of this and find out the truth.”

In carrying out his independent review Butler will examine all relevant files and documents held by the council as well as interview council officials and other relevant parties who were involved in the construction projects. He will report to the minister by 9 December, 2019.

“I am confident that Butler has the required expertise to promptly review these matters and establish the truth of what transpired in these particular cases,” Murphy said.

“I look forward to receiving his report.”

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