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Mary Lou claims PDs implicated in tax evasion dossier as PAC told it can't investigate

The Public Accounts Committee has been told it cannot investigate a dossier containing allegations of tax evasion by senior politicians.

Mary Lou McDonald in the Dáil today
Mary Lou McDonald in the Dáil today
Image: Oireachtas TV

Updated 6.30pm 

SINN FÉIN’S MARY Lou McDonald has told the Dáil that ‘household names’ including from the now-defunct Progressive Democrats appear in a whistleblower’s dossier alleging tax evasion by former politicians.

Meanwhile, the Public Accounts Committee has been told at a private meeting this evening that it cannot immediately investigate the allegations contained in the dossier that it received under the Protected Disclosures Act last week.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, McDonald said that the “very serious allegations” concern individuals from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Progressive Democrats.

It’s the first time that the PDs, who were dissolved in 2009, have been mentioned in relation to the dossier submitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) by the 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.

Ryan claims that information he uncovered was not dealt with by ministers of various governments and state agencies. He says he was offered a bonus to complete his investigation early – an offer confirmed by the former secretary general of the Department last night.

In the Dáil today, McDonald said: “The allegations that are very serious, very serious in respect of alleged tax evasion by named individuals who are household names from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Progressive Democrats.”

PAC denied

McDonald attended a private meeting of the PAC in Leinster House this evening where it’s understood the committee received legal advice to the effect that it cannot immediately investigate the dossier as it does not fall within the remit of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

However, sources at the meeting have described the matter as a complex one.

One source said that it will now ask the C&AG to examine the matter with a view to the PAC eventually being allowed to investigate but this could take a number of weeks.

The committee agreed to forward the dossier to the gardaí and to ask the Jobs Minister to forward it to the Revenue Commissioners, the source said.

Earlier, McDonald also asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny if he believed Ryan’s claim that there was “a pattern of political construction” in relation to his allegations.

Kenny accused McDonald of prejudging the work of the PAC and insisted that he did not believe that current Jobs Minister Richard Bruton “was part of a pattern of political obstruction”.

He added: ”If this warrants further investigation of any of the decisions taken or not taken by the agencies of the State then so be it.”

Secretary General on tax dossier: ‘No effort would have been made to suppress information’

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Hugh O'Connell

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