Geoghegan Quinn denies Ansbacher bank account claims made under Dail privilege

Former Minister, European Commissioner and Galway West TD Maire Geoghegan-Quinn strongly denied last evening that she had an Ansbacher account or a Guinness and Mahon bank account.

Her statement was issued in the wake of yesterday’s developments in Dail Eireann when Ms Geoghegan-Quinn was named as one of several Ministers named under privilege in the Dáil by Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald.

Ms McDonald said there needed to be a Government investigation into claims by a whistleblower after the Public Accounts Committee had been told it could not explore his claims, before going on to name several politicians.

In a two-line statement issued just hours after the developments in the Dail, Ms Geoghegan-Quinn said: "I have never had an Ansbacher Account. Neither have I ever had an account with Guinness and Mahon Bank."

Ansbacher accounts were used by prominent figures, including former taoiseach Charles Haughey, to evade tax in the 1990s. By time of going to press last night, former Progressive Democrat leader Des O'Malley along with former Fianna Fáil TDs Ray McSharry, Gerard Collins, and Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, and former Fine Gael TD Richie Ryan had all denied ever having Ansbacher accounts.

Ms McDonald said: "I emphasise these are allegations but they come from a very credible source.

"And the whistleblower alleges Des O'Malley, Ray MacSharry, Gerard Collins, Máire Geogheghan-Quinn, an S Barrett, Richie Ryan (a former minister for finance ) and others..."

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett interrupted her to ask if she was making allegations in the chamber, and Ms McDonald said: "I am echoing the very serious allegations that have been brought forward by the whistleblower."

Ms McDonald asked if the whistleblower would be allowed to conclude his investigations given the serious nature of the allegations against these named persons, and that the Public Accounts Committee could not investigate.

She said the PAC had been told on Tuesday night that it could not investigate the claims in the report.

Speaking on RTÉ, she said that following legal advice, the PAC can look at the matters in narrow terms and that by naming the individuals in the Dáil she hoped it would set the scene and create the atmosphere in which an appropriate mechanism of investigation was established.

She said the persons named were entitled to their good name, but that senior political public figures still in receipt of State payments, through pensions, should be investigated fully.

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