Harney directed dossier information be given to tribunals

Former tánaiste directed Ryan to pass on information to Mahon and Moriarty

Gerry Ryan says in the cover letter of his dossier that he was “asked to terminate my investigations” by Ms Harney in June 2004. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Gerry Ryan says in the cover letter of his dossier that he was “asked to terminate my investigations” by Ms Harney in June 2004. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

The civil servant who drafted the dossier that claims former politicians evaded tax was directed in 2004 by then tánaiste Mary Harney to provide his information to the Mahon and Moriarty tribunals, according to official briefing documents.

Gerry Ryan, who still works in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, was asked in 1998 by Ms Harney to investigate tax evasion schemes. At the time she was the senior minister in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Mr Ryan was appointed an authorised officer under company law. He declined to comment earlier this week and did not return calls yesterday, but says in the cover letter of his dossier that he was “asked to terminate my investigations” by Ms Harney in June 2004.

Last week Mr Ryan provided the dossier to the Public Accounts Committee that alleged tax evasion by a number of former politicians.

According to a chronology of events outlined in departmental briefing documents, Ms Harney took advice on the issue from the attorney general in March 2004. She also told Mr Ryan to disclose his information to the Moriarty tribunal the same month.

She made a similar direction regarding the Mahon tribunal in July 2004, and also directed Mr Ryan to “stop investigating and start writing reports”.

The chronology said Mr Ryan was originally appointed to investigate companies such as Guinness and Mahon Bank.

In 2005, Ms Harney’s successor in the department, Micheál Martin, appointed Matthias Kelly QC, a former chairman of the Bar Council in England and Wales, to examine Mr Ryan’s claims.

Mr Kelly said “there were good and valid reasons to retain the investigations. It was anticipated that the investigations would be speedily and efficiently completed. That was based on what the authorised officer was saying then.

“Directions need to be given to secure the orderly and prompt conclusions of the current investigations. The material, which the authorised officer has collected, needs to be put before the appropriate authorities for them to decide how to proceed.”

In his May 2005 report, Mr Kelly also said: “The bodies that are empowered to decide how to proceed are the Tribunals, the courts, the Revenue Commissioners, the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority. They should be given the opportunity to decide.

“Time is not unlimited. The work of the Moriarty Tribunal, in particular, will have concluded by early 2006”.

He recommended that Mr Ryan be given until August 2005 to conclude his investigations, which would provide “adequate time to complete the work, bearing in mind that the authorised officer was instructed to commence writing his report on 30th July 2004”.