Centre for Public Inquiry has ceased its work

The Centre for Public Inquiry has decided to close. As reported in several papers on Monday, Fergus Flood said there was “no alternative”. There were also allegations that Treasury Holdings was threatening legal action against the CPI and its members if a report was published naming them, in relation to the Dublin Port Company (DPC) deal. The Sunday Times reported:

The CPI began an investigation into property transactions in Dublin’s docklands, including a deal involving the Dublin Port Company (DPC), and other developments including Treasury Holdings’ joint venture with CIE on Spencer Dock.

The government has already come under pressure to explain why the state-owned DPC, chaired by former councillor Joe Burke, a political associate of Bertie Ahern, the taoiseach, did not go through a tender procedure before entering into a joint venture with private operators to develop a 32-acre site.

An apparent source at the CPI also noted:

“Various interesting operations are in progress which will never see the light of day because people are afraid to be sued for libel.”

4 thoughts on “Centre for Public Inquiry has ceased its work”

  1. The centre for public enquiry was too dangerous a body to be allowed to survive.It was a threat to the network of developers who fund Fianna Fail and who are part and parcel of the circle of favoured cronies who -along with rural landowners and farmers- are now reaping a kings ransom due to the lack of a fair and transparent policy of rezoning lands in Dublin and elswhere,during the Ray Burke/Liam Lawlor era.
    Until such time as a proper non political commission is created to oversee land rezoning this small clique (about a dozen) of very wealthy individuals will continue to control the destiny of young housebuyers throughout Leinster.
    In this instance McDowell did Ahern,s dirty work for him.
    Favour owed..?

  2. I agree. The Centre for Public Inquiry was seen as a threat from the outset. With so many powerful people having so much to hide it’s unsurprising that the Centre would be targeted.

    A related problem is the state of Ireland’s defamation laws. We should follow the U.S. example of setting different standards for speech concerning public figures, where actual malice must be shown before the speech will be considered defamatory. In Ireland virtually anything said which cannot be proved in detail in court can be defamatory if it would tend to lower the ‘defamed’individual in the eyes of the reasonable members of the public.

    The difficulty is without a Centre for Public Inquiry how can the truth be uncovered, or facts be proved. Are ordinary individuals, going about their daily lives going to have sufficient time and resources to investigate the powers that be? The last hope for the public may in fact be blogging, but then the blogosphere is also subjected to harsh defamation laws.

  3. In the 1970s my family and I set up a grocery store in Dublin. It was a lifelong dream of mine to open a shop so as I could support my wife and children. We had been looking for a shop for some considerable time and had almost given up when we spotted one in Summerhill. We were surprised to have got the store so cheap but we still had to get a loan from a bank. If we had not come across this shop I would have had to join the dole queue so it was a Godsend to us. After a short while we had many problems from hooligans of the area. They robbed the shop, assaulted and verbally abused us, broke our windows, burnt our cars and even tried to set alight to the shop. T o try and save our livelihood and home we brought it to attention of the news media, Garda headquarters, Community leaders, and government ministers. The gardai mentioned that if we kept our heads down and not be making complaints against them that we would not have got this trouble. Soon after I was wrongly arrested on several occasions, locked in cells, bullied and humiliated. I had no criminal record. We believed that corruption was rife in the authorities at that time. My lifelong dream had been taken away from me and I have spent the rest of my life trying to rectify what had happened but it was all in vain.

    As an ordinary person I was absolutely delighted when I heard about CPI. I prepared my case as fast as I could to have it investigated by them. Although I had tried desperately to expose the case I found that there was nowhere at all in Ireland in which to do so. I visited the offices of the CPI and they accepted my case. A couple of weeks later I was told that my case would not be investigated as the centre was closing down. My world fell apart after hearing this news as I knew the CPI would have been the only people to examine my case. Why, why, oh why did some powerful person not step out and say? “No, enough is enough. The centre stays where it is.” The people responsible for the closure should have been reprimanded and possibly sacked from their positions.

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