Tax evasion allegations: profiles of named politicians

Who they are and what they say in response to whistleblower allegations

Gerard Collins

Gerard Collins won a Dáil seat in Limerick West for Fianna Fáil after the death of his father, a TD, in 1967, and went on to become a long-serving cabinet minister.

He was minister for foreign affairs and subsequently was elected to the European Parliament in 1994.

He retired from politics in 2014 after losing his European seat.


Response: "I have never had or held an Ansbacher account or Guinness and Mahon Bank account, and I would welcome any investigation into this matter."

Ray MacSharry

His tough persona while overseeing public spending cuts while Charles Haughey's minister for finance in the late 1980s earned Ray MacSharry the title "Mack the Knife".

He became an MEP in 1984, before returning as a TD and minister for finance in 1987 in another Haughey-led government. He was appointed Ireland’s European commissioner in 1988.

Response: Mr MacSharry described the allegations as "absolutely outrageous" and said: "I have never had an Ansbacher account, I never was the beneficiary of one."

He said he would be consulting his legal representatives to see what recourse he has, both against Gerry Ryan, the whistleblower who submitted the dossier about tax evasion to the Dáil Committee on Public Accounts, and Ms McDonald.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

In 1979 Máire Geoghegan-Quinn became the first woman to be appointed a cabinet minister since the foundation of the State.

A TD for Galway West from 1975 to 1997, she held a number of ministerial appointments before standing down from the Dáil. She was subsequently Ireland's representative at the European Court of Auditors for a decade before being appointed as Ireland's European commissioner for five years. She was recently succeeded by Phil Hogan.

Response: "I have never had an Ansbacher account. Neither have I had an account with Guinness Mahon Bank. "

Richie Ryan

Dublin solicitor Richie Ryan was one of the key figures as minister for finance in the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government led by Liam Cosgrave between 1973 and 1977. His period in office at a difficult time for the economy led to him being labelled "Richie Ruin" by various satirists.

He later was an MEP for a number of years before becoming Ireland’s representative at the European Court of Auditors.

Response: Mr Ryan told RTÉ he "emphatically denied" ever having an Ansbacher account or an account with Guinness and Mahon. He said he was "a total stranger" to the allegations referred to in the Dáil, and totally and strenuously denied the claims.

Sylvester Barrett

It is assumed that the "S Barrett" referred to in the Dáil by Mary Lou McDonald is the late Sylvester Barrett who was a long-serving Fianna Fáil TD for Clare.

First elected to the Dáil in a by-election in 1968, he went on to hold a number of ministerial appointments.

He won a seat in the Munster constituency in the 1984 European Parliament elections.

Mr Barrett retired from politics in 1989, and died in 2002 aged 75.

Des O’Malley

Held a number of senior ministerial appointments as a Fianna Fáil TD and subsequently as the first leader of the PDs.

Response: Mr O'Malley said he never had an Ansbacher account. He said the reason for him being on the list was because he had "a particular form of account with Guinness Mahon Bank" which at the time was viewed as "a perfectly respectable bank".

After becoming a cabinet minister in 1977 he became aware he had shares in some companies he would be dealing with, and to avoid a conflict of interest he put the assets in a blind trust operated by the Guinness Mahon Bank. He received dividends and paid tax on these in Ireland. He said he never dealt with Des Traynor.

“The list, and allegations of tax evasion, have been extensively investigated already by the Revenue Commissioners, the Garda and the Moriarty tribunal several years ago. Despite this, it is being raised again.”