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Named and shamed still enjoying high life, says O'Toole

THOSE named and shamed by the chairman of the Flood Tribunal are continuing to enjoy lavish lifestyles achieved during careers marked by bribery and corruption, the head of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said yesterday.

Senator Joe O'Toole said we should not hold our breath waiting for expressions of remorse from these people. "Even now they will be in the offices of their lawyers and accountants devising strategies and deals to allow them escape from the threat of jail and to allow them hold on to their unlawful wealth," he said.

He asked whether it was right that many of the principal cast members of the Flood report are still in business.

Calling for an investigation into the the Irish building industry, the ICTU president said there should be immediate actionagainst those branded corrupt in the Flood report.

He insisted that it was wrong to assume the report's publication meant that corrupt practices were a thing of the past. "They are still at it and they are laughing at the rest of us," he told the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed. An investigation is needed to establish who the beneficial owners of the huge tracts of undeveloped lands in Dublin are, he said. This probe into the building industry should establish who is responsible for releasing land for housing development on a piece by piece basis keeping supply down and prices exorbitantly high. Thursday's report from the Comptroller and Auditor General confirmed yet again that "the unscrupulous builder is still alive and well and not paying taxes", said Senator O'Toole.

Those found guilty in the Flood report should be pursued in terms of criminal assets, costs, back taxes, fines, penalties and interests for everything they have, he said.

"I'd prefer to see these people poor and free rather than rich and in jail. Preferably poor and in jail, but I believe that the way to get at these people is to put the boot into them," added the senator.

However, Senator O'Toole appealed to workers to put aside their anti-Government feeling when it comes to the Nice Treaty. Those who want to have a go at the Government should find different ways to do it because Nice "is in the best interests of all of us".

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