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Saturday 7 December 2019

Attorney General to be asked for advice on Ansbacher whistleblower

Attorney General Maire Whelan
Attorney General Maire Whelan
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is to ask the Attorney General for clarity on legislation protecting whistleblowers amid differing legal advice it has received on the controversial Anbacher dossier.

Department of Jobs official Gerard Ryan submitted a dossier to the committee alleging there was evidence to suggest several former Government ministers from Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Progressive Democrats had held offshore accounts for the purpose of avoiding tax.

He claims the evidence was not properly investigated by several state agencies.

Mr Ryan said he was was relying on legal protections contained in new whistleblower legislation to make the disclosure to the committee.

The Oireachtas’s parliamentary legal advice office told the committee that Mr Ryan’s disclosure was not protected under the whistleblower legislation, a situation which could see him open to legal action.

However, a senior barrister also submitted a legal opinion to the committee saying Mr Ryan was covered by the legislation.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said at a meeting of the committee this morning that it would seek the view of the Attorney General on the interpretation of the legislation.

He said Mr Ryan had “made a significant disclosure” and “now appeared to be in difficulty”.

The chairman said it was important to clarify where Mr Ryan stood.

The committee also resolved to question the Revenue Commissioners next week on the issues raised in the Ansbacher dossier.

It is to decide after that meeting whether Mr Ryan is to be called as a witness.

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