Mary Lou McDonald is using Public Accounts Committee for political ends, says John Deasy

McDonald says she is entitled to name in the Dáil former senior politicians accused by a whistleblower of tax evasion

Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily after giving evidence to the Committee of Public Accounts on Revenue’s Ansbacher inverstgations. Photograph: Alan Betson

Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily after giving evidence to the Committee of Public Accounts on Revenue’s Ansbacher inverstgations. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Fine Gael TD John Deasy has accused Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald of using the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for political ends.

He said her actions were affecting the working of the committee which was supposed to act in a bi-partisan manner. “You need to stop here,” he said.

Ms McDonald said she was perfectly entitled as a public representative to act as she did when she named in the Dáil some of the former senior politicians accused by a whistleblower of tax evasion.

She said she was answerable to those who elected her and not to a Fine Gael member of the PAC.

Two options Mr Deasy said the impression had been given to the public that the committee had exhausted all options available to it in relation to investigating the allegations of tax evasion made by the whistleblower.

He said the legal adviser to the committee had set out two options; interviewing the Revenue Commissioners and applying for a resolution in the Dáil to allow it to deal with the matters concerned.

Joe Costello of the Labour Party said it was totally untrue to say the committee had reached the end of the road.

Ms McDonald said the legal advice given to the committee had been very consistent that it could only operate within narrow confines.

Ms McDonald has called for a judicial inquiry into the allegations made against former senior political figures in a dossier given by a whistleblower to the Public Accounts Committee.

Ms McDonald on Wednesday named under privilege on the Dáil record a number of individuals listed in the dossier.

Allegations They included former PD leader Des O’Malley, former Fianna Fáil politicians Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Ray MacSharry and Gerard Collins, an ‘S Barrett’, assumed to be former Fianna Fáil TD Sylvie Barrett, and former Fine Gael minister Richie Ryan.

Ms McDonald defended her decision to name the individuals on the record and said it was not for her to make a decision on whether the allegations were right or wrong.

She said the PAC, of which she is a member, had received legal advice that it might be “beyond the capacity of any Oireachtas committee” to investigate the matters. She had written to Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Wednesday telling him the Government needed to identify a mechanism of inquiry to review the matters and to get to the bottom of the allegations.

“I hope the Taoiseach doesn’t just wish this away and hope it’ll go away. I think there’s a real case now for a thorough investigation,” she said.