The Prosecution of White-Collar Crime in a Developing Economy: A Case Study of Ireland in the 20th Century
McGrath, J. (2015) 'The Prosecution of White-Collar Crime in a Developing Economy: A Case Study of Ireland in the 20th Century' In: Van Erp, J.; Huisman, W.; Vande Walle, G (eds). The Routledge Handbook of White-Collar and Corporate Crime in Europe. Oxford: Routledge.
31 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 21, 2015
This contribution critically analyses how social, political, and economic conditions in the 20th century in Ireland created a context where there was no cultural recognition of the dangers posed by ineffective corporate regulation. In doing so, it analyses the particular framework of competences, practices, attitudes and discourses that impacted on policy choices and supported the routine marginalisation of corporate affairs within the legal system. It is shown that Ireland had an agrarian economy, with low levels of crime, and relatively low levels of corporate activity. Consequently, the State was not concerned with issues of corporate and white-collar crime. This is demonstrated by the chronic failure to review company law with any regularity, the continued culture of policy imitation with the UK, the explicit statements in parliament detailing the disinterest in corporate affairs, and the willingness to embrace light-touch regulation as part of a package to court foreign enterprise. Institutional responses to corporate enforcement mirrored the apathy shown by the political establishment and society more generally. Corporate non-compliance with the law was widespread, yet prosecutions rarely took place, convictions were rarely achieved, and offenders were subject to very low levels of sanctions. A culture of corporate non-compliance and non-enforcement reigned.
Keywords: white-collar crime
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