Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has alleged the whistleblower investigation into offshore accounts and tax evasion was terminated once Des O’Malley was found to be involved.
Ms McDonald raised the Ansbacher whistleblower issue during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil.
She named a number of individuals including Mr O’Malley and “an S Barrett”.
Mary Lou McDonald raises the Ansbacher issue in the Dáil
Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett reprimanded Ms McDonald for making such allegations in the Dáil and said that the “S Barrett” mentioned did not relate to him.
Ms McDonald said: “I emphasise these are allegations but they come from a very credible source.
“And the whistleblower alleges Des O’Malley, Ray MacSharry, Gerard Collins, Máire Geogheghan-Quinn, an S Barrett, Richie Ryan (a former minister for finance) and others…”
Mr Barrett interrupted her to ask if she was making allegations in the chamber, and Ms McDonald said: “I am echoing the very serious allegations that have been brought forward by the whistleblower.”
Mr Barrett said: “I wish to state quite categorically in case anybody is under any doubts when you say S Barrett, it doesn’t apply to me.”
Ms McDonald asked if the whistleblower will be allowed to conclude his investigations given the serious nature of the allegations against these named persons, and that the Public Accounts Committee cannot investigate.
She said the PAC had been told last night that it could not investigate the claims in the report.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny acknowledged the legal advice received by the PAC yesterday and said the whistleblower had been protected by legislation.
He said the garda fraud squad investigation unit had made a request for a witness statement to be forwarded to it.
Mr O’Malley said in a statement that he “never had what is called ‘an Ansbacher account'”.
The former Progressive Democrat leader said the list and the allegations have been “extensively investigated already by the Revenue Commissioners, the gardaí and the Moriarty Tribunal”.
He said the reason he is on the list is that he had a particular form of account with Guinness Mahon Bank.
After taking up the position of minister for industry and commerce in 1977, he said he became aware that he had shares in some companies he would be dealing with and in order to avoid a conflict of interest he put the assets in a blind trust, operated by the Guinness Mahon Bank.
He received dividends annually and paid tax on these in Ireland.
Mr O’Malley said in the statement that his “tax affairs remain in full compliance with the Revenue Commissions”.
He also added that he “never had any dealings with the late Des Traynor while he was at that bank or any other”.
In a statement this afternoon, Mr MacSharry said: “It is outrageous that anybody can make such wild allegations when there is no foundation whatsoever as far as I’m concerned.”
The former tánaiste said he “never had an Ansbacher account or a Guinness and Mahon account”.
He added in a statement that he “never benefitted from any Ansbacher or Guinness and Mahon account and I have been in touch with my lawyers to see what options are open to me particularly in relation to the question of privilege of this information and those who are using it”.
In a statement, Ms Geoghegan-Quinn said: “I have never had an Ansbacher Account. Neither have I ever had an account with Guinness and Mahon Bank.”
Former Fianna Fáil TD Gerard Collins also issued a statement today, saying: “I have never had or held an Ansbacher Account or Guinness and Mahon Bank Account and I would welcome any investigation into this matter.”
Ms McDonald said she named the individuals because she hoped it will lead to a full and proper inquiry into the matter.
Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, she said that following legal advice, the PAC can look at the matters in narrow terms and that by naming the individuals in the Dáil she hoped it will set the scene and create the atmosphere in which an appropriate mechanism of investigation is established.
She said the persons named are entitled to their good name, but that senior political public figures still in receipt of State payments, through pensions, should be investigated fully.
Ms McDonald said that the whistleblower wishes to resume and complete his investigation and that this would be helpful in terms of finishing out the investigative work initiated.
She said matters such as political stalling, interference and obstruction should be investigated by an independent review, initiated by the Taoiseach.