Anti-corruption agencies to gain surveillance powers
Agencies tackling economic crime and corruption will gain the same surveillance powers as gardaí and Revenue Commissioners under legislation to be developed by the end of the year.
The extension of powers under the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009 to other “appropriate bodies” forms part of the first cross-government plan on implementing reforms to tackle economic crime and corruption.
The government today set out 22 actions to be completed across government within the next year and a half in order to implement the recommendations of the Hamilton Review on Economic Crime and Corruption, which reported in December.
The actions set out in the implementation plan include the establishment by autumn 2021 of an advisory council against economic crime and corruption to advise and make proposals on strategic and policy responses. It will be tasked with submitting a multi-year strategy to combat economic crime and corruption to ministers by spring 2022.
An Garda Síochána will be required to submit a resourcing plan for the long term needs of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau to the Policing Authority and Department of Justice by the summer.
More than half of the actions set out in the implementation plan are legislative changes, though some – such as the creation of a specific offence of bid-rigging – have already been completed.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee said: “The plan identifies recommendations that can be implemented in the short term, such as the establishment of the new oversight structures, resource planning, and legislative actions which are included in the current legislative programme.”
She added: “This implementation plan delivers the commitment I made in the Justice Plan 2021 to begin the implementation, in collaboration with other agencies and departments, of new anti-fraud and anti-corruption structures informed by the work of the Hamilton Review Group.
“It is important to note that a number of the actions in the implementation plan fall within the remit other ministerial colleagues, and the entire government will be taking the initiative to progress this plan.
“At an international level, this implementation plan also signals Ireland’s commitment to tackling economic crime and corruption. The implementation of the recommendations contained in the Hamilton Review Group report will strongly support Ireland’s compliance with our international obligations.”