Corporate watchdog ‘should be interested’ in revelations about landlord Marc Godart, Tánaiste says

Micheál Martin says reports about businessman published by The Irish Times ‘extremely concerning’

The Corporate Enforcement Authority should be interested in recent revelations published by The Irish Times about landlord Marc Godart, Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said.

He told the Dáil on Thursday that the content of a recent article by Europe correspondent Naomi O’Leary should be “a matter of interest” to the watchdog, Dublin City Council, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), An Garda Síochána and potentially other parties.

The article detailed attempts to establish new companies under the identities of people not connected to Mr Godart, a Luxembourg businessman, and his family to avoid public scrutiny of his property operations.

The Irish Times also highlighted offers of payment to workers who found people willing to allow the use of their identity to set up Airbnb accounts and ruthless working conditions in which workers were docked pay for a range of perceived infractions, including quitting.


Mr Godart this week avoided prosecution for “egregious” breaches of planning laws through unauthorised Airbnb lettings in Dublin after two firms he directs accepted responsibility, were fined €7,500 and agreed to pay legal costs.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, Labour leader Ivana Bacik said “across a range of legal frameworks, he [Godart] is riding roughshod over the rights of tenants and workers and he appears to be operating with impunity”.

Ms Bacik asked the Tánaiste would “unscrupulous landlords” be allowed to continue to exploit legal loopholes and exploit renters and referenced the recent reporting in The Irish Times.

She asked Mr Martin if the Government would bolster the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to “crack down on those who are exploiting tenants”.

In response, Mr Martin said the revelations about Mr Godart were “extremely concerning and worrying”.

“In my view, and I have read the article, and intend to talk to other ministers about it, it seems to me that the Corporate Enforcement Authority should be interested in this article in terms of the whole issue of nominees, of the paper directors, shadow Airbnb accounts, staff practices, issues around labour law,” he said.

“It seems to me arising from reading that article ... perhaps a role for the WRC or others in respect or labour inspectors, to investigate further how employees were treated in that company.”

The Fianna Fáil leader also said the State had authorities to enforce the law when it is broken, adding: “I think they now should give their attention to this.”

Mr Martin said the Government had invested record amounts in the RTB but that their investigations were not “at the scale they should be”.

“This creates a huge challenge reputationally for the broader rental market, when you have people like Mr Godart behaving in a manner that he clearly has behaved as evidenced by that article in The Irish Times,” he said.

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Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times