News & Media

Government accountability needed on DCC intimidation payments

12 October 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Reacting to the government’s response to the revelations of payments being made by Dublin City Council to deal with intimidation, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, said that this is now a matter of accountability about what members of the government knew, and when they knew it.

Brendan said: “I agree with my colleague and Labour Justice spokesperson, Seán Sherlock, that any potential criminality should be independently investigated by An Garda Síochána rather than Dublin City Council and that misuse of public money should also be investigated by the Local Government Audit Service.

“However, this is also a question of political accountability. On Thursday, the Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, was confronted with evidence that he was informed of these matter three years ago, in his former role as Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, as a joint recipient of correspondence also sent to the Minister for Justice.

 “It is incredible and totally unacceptable to think that any official would pay protection money to criminals to prevent intimidation or obstruction to public works. The government needs to confirm at what stage in the last three years it became aware of this allegation and what action it took to confirm the facts that are only now coming to light.

“If and when the government became aware of this matter, what was done by the relevant ministers to ensure that a Garda investigation was underway?

 “The government also needs to inform the Dáil about whether there is any possibility that the payment of protection money may have occurred in any other public spending project, and how the government will ensure that payment of protection money cannot happen in the future.

“The bottom line is that public money, now and into the future, must never be used to pay off violent thugs.”