Butler urges CAB to launch local probe

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The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is being urged to keep a tighter reign on indiviudual whose wealth appears to have increased despite the recession.

Longford County Cllr Seamus Butler said he felt compelled as a public representative to issue the plea following a series of private discussions with local traders.

The Fianna Fail councillor said the opulence displayed by certain individuals in light of ongoing fiscal difficulties required closer scrutiny from state officials.

“Despite the recent severe recession, there are some business people that seem to have been impervious to the economic downturn,” he said.

“Indeed some of them would appear to be flourishing more than ever.

“They may well have exceptional business models, in which case I wish them all the best.

“However, I think it is in the best interest of the local business community that their obvious assets stand up to scrutiny.”

First set up in 1996 in the wake of the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, the Bureau’s statutory remit is to carry out investigations into the suspected proceeds of crime.

Over the course of its first 15 years in operation, CAB secured final asset confiscation orders worth €54m.

Another €137m came by way of tax payments while in excess of €6m in social welfare savings were achieved from well known criminals claiming welfare.

What Cllr Butler wants now is for those same measures to be applied to Longford in order to ensure the assets possessed by some stand up to public scrutiny.

“I don’t say any of this lightly, in fact I am always of the opinion we need to talk up Longford.

“But it’s a concern which has been said to me time and time again over the past nine months or so.”

Cllr Butler stopped short of going into any specifics, but said there were instances of increasing wealth around the county which had undoubtedly raised eyebrows.

“You can see it with the likes of property and vehicles,” he said.

“Virtually every business in Longford has had a very hard time over the last five years especially but there are cases that seem to be going against that trend.”

The former Chamber of Commerce President also admitted he would be more than willing to pass on his “observations” to state authorities should any investigation ensue.




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