- Wide-ranging reform to be implemented over the next 18 months
- Advisory Council Against Economic Crime and Corruption to be established at centre of Government by the autumn
- Continuous training for investigators to be developed by the end of 2021
- Standalone search warrants for electronic devices among raft of legislative proposals under development
The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has today published the first cross-government plan on implementing reforms to tackle economic crime and corruption.
The implementation plan for the Hamilton Review on Economic Crime and Corruption sets out 22 actions to be completed across government within the next year and a half.
The Hamilton Review of Structures and Strategies to Prevent, Investigate and Penalise Economic Crime and Corruption was published in December 2020.
It contained a number of recommendations focusing primarily on legislative, structural and resourcing measures to enhance the capacity of agency and multi-agency enforcement and the prevention of corruption and white collar crime offences.
The publication of the implementation plan following on from the Hamilton Review is a key element of Minister McEntee’s Justice Plan 2021.
Minister McEntee’s implementation plan details the exact actions to be taken across government and by State agencies to progress the Hamilton Report’s recommendations, and sets out timelines for the completion of these actions.
The actions in the implementation plan include:
- An Advisory Council against Economic Crime and Corruption to advise and make proposals on strategic and policy responses will be established at the centre of Government by the autumn.
- The Advisory Council will submit a multi-annual strategy to combat economic crime and corruption to Cabinet by next spring.
- A resourcing plan for the long term needs of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau will be submitted by An Garda Síochána to the Policing Authority and Department of Justice by this summer.
- Legislation to extend the surveillance powers currently available to An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners to other bodies with a remit to investigate economic crime and corruption to be developed by the end of 2021, among other legislative proposals.
The full list of actions and accompanying timelines are outlined in the plan, which can be found here:http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/HRG_Implementation Plan.pdf/Files/HRG_Implementation Plan.pdf
Minister McEntee said:
White collar crime undermines confidence in our economic system and damages our economy itself. Those who commit such crimes will be caught and punished, and this implementation plan will give the State the tools to vigorously pursue those criminals. But my plan is also necessary to ensure that Ireland’s reputation as an international hub for business is maintained and strengthened.
So much business, be it personal or by companies large or small, is now done online and our reforms will ensure that businesses and people can operate safely and securely.
This implementation plan outlines 22 actions to progress the 25 recommendations in the Hamilton Review Group report, including the steps required and timelines.
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
Referring to the whole-of-Government approach to tackling white collar crime and corruption recommended in the original report, Minister McEntee added:
My Department has engaged with key Departments and agencies in the process of preparing this implementation plan, and I would like to thank all my cabinet colleagues for their support in this important work. I would once again like to extend my gratitude, on behalf of the Government, to James Hamilton and all the members of the Review Group for their work in preparing the original report.
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.
The full report of the Hamilton Review Group can be viewed online at: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Hamiliton_Review_Group_Report.pdf/Files/Hamiliton_Review_Group_Report.pdf
In November 2017, the Government published a suite of regulatory, corporate governance and law enforcement measures – the ‘White-collar crime package’ – aimed at enhancing Ireland’s ability to combat corporate, economic and regulatory crime. This included a commitment to “review and strengthen anti-corruption and anti-fraud structures in criminal justice enforcement”.
To that end, the then Minister appointed Mr James Hamilton to act as independent chair of a multi-agency Review Group. The Review Group’s membership comprised of Government Departments and the key State agencies with responsibility for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of economic crime and corruption as well as a small number of experts from outside the public service. The Review Group met on a number of occasions and held extensive discussions including a public consultation.
The Government approved the Hamilton Review Group report in November 2020 and the report was published in December 2020. It was also agreed that an all-of-Government implementation plan to progress the recommendations in the report would be developed.
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