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Gardai lack resources to tackle white-collar criminals

GARDA supervisors last night demanded more resources for their national fraud bureau to tackle white-collar crime.

The annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) in Limerick heard that current resources might not be "half enough" to cope with the rise in financial crime.

National executive member Mary Finnegan, of Sligo, pointed out that the fraud bureau was not called in to investigate the Anglo Irish Bank affair until three months after the scandal erupted. And, although six additional sergeants had been seconded to the bureau, it still did not have sufficient resources available.

She said the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) was now being asked to do a "mopping up" exercise 14 years after the Moriarty Tribunal had been set up, while the investigation into the Beef Tribunal had only resulted in the prosecution of a single low-level person.

General secretary Joe Dirwan called for the creation of fraud units on a regional basis around the country.

"White-collar crime is not just located in Dublin. It manifests itself all around the country and there is a need for local units," he said.

President Aidan O'Donnell referred to a report to the Dail last month which disclosed that Bank of Ireland had omitted bonuses of almost €1m to two senior executives from information supplied previously.

He called for emergency legislation to prohibit the banks, that were being funded by the taxpayers, from paying out bonuses and a further legislative intervention to prevent unilateral rises in interest rates.

Gardai have also called for a tightening up of regulations on convicted sex offenders who are required to sign a register after they have been released from prison.


National executive member Brian O'Dea said offenders could sign the register at any garda station in the country.

He argued that Justice Minister Alan Shatter should introduce legislation requiring sex criminals to register at their local station and be fingerprinted, palm printed, photographed and obliged to answer relevant questions.

The conference also heard that 120 gardai ended up with nothing in their wage packets after paying their monthly bills.

Mr O'Dea said gardai had suffered losses totalling 20pc of their wage packets when all of the cuts, health and pension levies and the social insurance charges were added up.

Speakers warned that in return for agreeing to the changes negotiated under the Croke Park deal, they expected the Government to adhere to their pledge that there would be no further pay cuts before 2014.

Irish Independent