[Sinn Fein]

27 August 1997

Dáil must be given powers to investigate

Wealthy `` have privileged access to corridors of power''

Sinn Fein spokesperson Seán Crowe has described the Report of the Mc Cracken Tribunal as a damning inditement not only of the individual politicians named in the report but of the two major parties.He also called for an enquiry into past Section 4's in planning applications in Tallaght /Clondalkin area which he said also needed to be investigated.

Mr Crowe said:

``Claims that big business donations do not give the donors privileged access to the corridors of power now have no credability. Does anyone seriously believe that the bankrolling of the two main political parties, and of senior figures within them, by one of the biggest companies in the State, has not had a bearing on policy, either directly or indirectly ?

``The real issue before us is not simply a question of personal ethics of politicians. It is a question of whose interests they represent. They are democratically elected to represent their constituents without fear or favour. But at local and national level Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have consistently favoured the wealthy against the economically disadvantaged.Despite their public utterances it is these same parties who have created a culture of privilege.

``The Mc Cracken Tribunal is to be commended for its work. But what is needed now are strong powers for Dail committees to carry out such investigations with the ability to subpoena witnesses. There needs to be public accesss with the right of citizens to bring issues before the committees. The role and powers of the Ombudsman should be looked at and extended. Clearly his office and its independent status could play a indispensable role in any future inquiries.

``Unanswered questions remain not only about the wealth of Charles Haughey but about Greencore, Telecom, Hepatitis C and other scandals.The abuse of Section 4's in planning applications particularly in the Tallaght and Clondalkin areas ,also needs to looked at and throughly investigated.In this area over the last 30 years we have seen the creation of this states largest suburban sprawl with all its associated problems. Residents are paying the high cost of bad planning and poor housing. Local families continue to pay the cost but who benefited.? The public have a right to know, by how and by who these decisions were made .These issues are too important to be swept under the usual proverbial carpet.''

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