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ICAI forms appeals committee

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — A three-man high-profile committee has been set up by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland to hear appeals against the findings of an investigation of possible professional misconduct arising out of the McCracken Tribunal.

The inquiry, chaired by former High Court judge John Blayney, cost £750,000, but its findings, either against accounting firms or individuals, have not been published.

The inquiry had probed the actions of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey, 74, himself an ICAI member, the accountants involved with the payments he received, and those who acted for Dunnes Stores and the company owned by former Fine Gael Minister Michael Lowry.

Evidence of alleged evasion of tax and exchange controls with the aid of accountants revealed in the McCracken report led to the inquiry.

The profession is self-regulating, but its inquiries have no powers to compel witnesses to attend.

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Penalties can range from members being thrown out and practicing rights being withdrawn to an admonishment.

Blayney’s findings were appealed, but the ICAI has refused to say by whom, citing legal reasons. The judge’s report will be published when the appeal is determined or abandoned.

The appeal will be chaired by Northern Ireland barrister Hugh Kennedy. He will be assisted by another barrister, John Hennessy, who is a former partner with the Arthur Andersen international accountancy firm, and Maurice Tempany, a former ICAI president and member of the Implementation Advisory Group on the establishment of a single regulatory authority for the financial services sector.

The 1,800 member Institute is planning to hold future inquiries in public following recent decisions to make the profession more open and accountable.

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