Former CRH chairman Tony Barry has admitted that he had funds in an offshore trust account. Mr Barry, who's still a director of the company, said the money was fully-disclosed, after-tax income and may have been in an Ansbacher account. Three other current CRH Board members - Don Godson, Harry Sheridan and Jack Hayes - all say they knew nothing about any Ansbacher accounts.
The Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy, has said it is likely the names of those who have Ansbacher accounts will become known to the public in the course of the investigation by the three inspectors appointed by the High Court. Mr McCreevy said this morning that all tax evaders must be punished and the law must be applied equally. He also repeated the warning that those guilty of tax fraud in relation to the Ansbacher accounts could face serving prison terms.
Yesterday, the Taoiseach said he would have no difficulty with seeing people go to jail if necessary. The Revenue Commissioners, who are investigating the affair, have received the list of 120 individuals who held money in the accounts.
The Director General of IBEC, John Dunne, the main employers’ organisation in the country has said he is shocked at the revelations which have been emerging about the Ansbacher Accounts over the past few days. However, he said the latest disclosures should not be used to justify a number of current pay claims in the Public Sector.
Two political parties have tabled Dáil questions calling on the Minister for Finance to release the names of holders of Ansbacher accounts as listed in the report of the investigation ordered by the Tanaiste, Mary Harney. Labour's Derek Mc Dowell, urged Mr Mc Creevy to place the names in the Library of the House - a move which would automatically put them into the public domain. Socialist party deputy, Joe Higgins, also called for the publication of the Ansbacher details. He said the account holders had put their hands into the pockets of compliant taxpayers and must be named.
The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Desmond Connell has said if wrong-doing is proven by those listed as having Ansbacher Accounts then their names should be published. Dr Connell said it might be the only way to cleanse public life. The Archbishop made his remarks at the launch of the annual report of Crosscare - the diocese's social care agency.