9 May 2019, 09.54

The Joint Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation has decided to seek power to direct Mr. Ian Drennan, Director of Corporate Enforcement, to provide it with a submission in relation to the case of the DPP V Seán FitzPatrick. 

The power the Committee proposes to seek is similar to that used in the course of the Banking Inquiry and is provided for in the Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013.

The Director had previously offered the submission to the Committee but withdrew the offer because the Committee was not in a position to give him assurances that he considered necessary to protect his Office from litigation risk and associated financial exposure.

The Committee on 16 April decided to seek the Director’s views in relation to the use by it of the power of direction pursuant to section 83 of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013, and wrote to him accordingly on 18 April.

In response, the Director stated that, in light of certain protections afforded under the 2013 Act, the Committee would receive the full co-operation of his Office if it issued him with a direction to provide the submission.

Commenting on the Committee’s decision, Committee Chair, Mary Butler T.D., said “The Committee has always been of the view that it is necessary for it to have a more complete understanding of the events leading up to the trial and acquittal of Mr. FitzPatrick. The Director’s submission may be of fundamental importance to the work of the Committee and I am pleased that we have found a way forward that appears to meet the Director’s requirements.”

The Committee will now proceed to seek the necessary approvals. These will include decisions by Dáil and Seanad Éireann.

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