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Snippet Contents:

I also congratulate my comrade, Deputy Pearse Doherty, on bringing forward this Bill. The actual idea that we need legislation to bring in sanctions for people engaged in misleading or telling lies to the Central Bank is quite amazing. It is not because anybody would be surprised that people at the top of the financial sector are capable of telling barefaced lies but we have been so foolish to never act on this before. This is especially surprising given the corporate culture of dishonesty which was laid bare in the aftermath of our recent economic collapse.
This Bill is about tackling white-collar crime with the seriousness it deserves. White-collar crime is capable of bringing just as much misery and pain to countless people as any other form of crime. As we saw with the sub-prime mortgage scandal, people were intent on lying through their teeth to maximise personal gain beyond what anybody could possibly need. This resulted in thousands of people losing their homes, their jobs and pensions in the blink of an eye.
This kind of behaviour is as criminal as one might find oneself in prison for. However, these characters walk free, unpunished and are often back in positions of power in which they can continue to act dishonestly and unscrupulously in their unchecked, unlimited pursuit of personal wealth at all costs. How can we ever challenge this if to lie to the Central Bank is not a criminal offence without serious repercussions? This may be an issue of global concern, but it is one on which we must act locally. In Ireland, up to 33,000 people have been robbed by these criminals. Their criminal actions have resulted in years of extreme hardship and deprivation for many of our people. Children have gone hungry, cold and sick due to the actions of these people. Families have been broken up, people put out on the street and honestly earned pensions destroyed. How many people have died in this country because of these actions? How many breakdowns have been caused? How many lives have been destroyed? A price must be paid for this destruction and there must be measures to stop them from doing it again. This Bill is a small step in that direction. Again, I commend Deputy Doherty on introducing it.