Greens seek to add definition of ‘economic treason’ to Constitution

New laws needed to prosecute white collar crime and fraud

The Green Party has introduced a Bill which seeks to amend the definition of treason in the Constitution to include economic treason. Green Party Whip Trevor Sargent TD moved the legislation in the Dáil this morning.
Green Party Chairman Dan Boyle, who first coined the phrase ‘economic treason’ and who is behind the attempt to change the Constitution said: “Among the many reasons why there has been no action taken against known individuals working in Irish financial institutions – whose greed and recklessness have brought us to where we are – is that properly defined legislation seems to be lacking in defining this kind of white collar crime and fraud.”
Senator Boyle said he believes an offence of ‘economic treason’ should be introduced and applied to defined individuals working in financial institutions licenced by the State. “Convictions would be on foot of any decision made knowingly that result in reputational damage for the country, an unacceptable economic loss, or a loss of economic sovereignty and carry mandatory sentences and large fines,” he said.

Trevor Sargent TD said the Irish people were justifiably confused and angry as to why nobody has been held responsible to date for the financial mistakes that have led us to where we are today. “We urgently need laws to prosecute white collar crime and fraud. The inability to bring to justice those whose self interest and greed so undermined our national wellbeing, is something that must end – and end soon,” he said. The Bill is outlined below.

Senator Boyle first coined the phrase ‘economic treason’ in February 2009. The text of the Bill is below.

AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION BILL

Entitled AN ACT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION WHEREAS by virtue of Article 39 of the Constitution, any provision of the Constitution may be amended in the manner provided by that Article. AND WHEREAS it is proposed to amend the Constitution: BE IT THEREFORE ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS: Delete article 39 and replace as follows;

Article 39.1

Treason shall consist in levying war against the State, or assisting any State or person or inciting or conspiring with any person to or inciting or conspiring with any person to levy war against the State, or attempting by force of arms or other violent means to overthrow the organs of government established by this Constitution, or taking part or being concerned in or inciting or conspiring with any person to make or to take part or be concerned in any such attempt.

Article 39.2

Economic treason shall consist of actions that result in reputational damage for the country, an unacceptable economic cost, or a loss of economic sovereignty for the State.

Article 39.3

Nothing in this section shall preclude the drafting of legislation, applying these definitions retrospectively.