Tuesday 10 December 2019

Taoiseach insists Bruton did not obstruct 'tax amnesty' probe

Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs Enterprise & Innovation
Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs Enterprise & Innovation
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has said Jobs Minister Richard Bruton did not obstruct an investigation into allegations that senior politicians evaded tax through secret off-shore bank accounts.

The Taoiseach was questioned about an alleged political cover-up of claims that former Fianna Fail and Fine Gael politicians held Ansbacher accounts.

Department of Jobs whistleblower Gerry Ryan made the claims in a dossier which was passed to Minister Bruton’s office two years ago

Mr Ryan, a Department of Jobs civil servant, claims Mr Bruton delayed in passing a witness statement to the Garda Fraud Squad.

The information was given to Gardai earlier this week – days after Mr Ryan sent his allegations to members of Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he agreed with Mr Ryan’s allegation that Minister Bruton was involved in “political obstruction”.

She also asked if former Tanaiste and Progress Democrat leader Mary Harney “shut down” Mr Ryan’s investigation into Ansbacher accounts.

“No I do not believe Minister Bruton was part of a pattern of political obstruction,” he said.

“The evidence is clearly the minister asked that the work proceed until the completion of the witness statement,” he added.

He said he has not read Mr Ryan’s dossier and he has not been briefed on its contents.

The Taoiseach also accused Ms McDonald, who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee, of prejudging legal advice the committee is waiting to receive.

Ms McDonald denied she had prejudged the committee’s legal advice.

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