Fitzpatrick attacks 'corporate McCarthyism'

Business watchdogs are targeting Irish entrepreneurs in a McCarthyite-style witchhunt, a leading executive claimed today.

Anglo Irish Bank's executive chairman Sean Fitzpatrick said businesspeople had created the Celtic Tiger boom and must be encouraged to continue to create wealth and jobs for the country.

He claimed the current regulatory regime had gone too far however, and seemed to treat entrepreneurs like criminals.

"The tide of regulation has gone far enough. It is time to shout stop," he said.

"We should be proud of our success, not suspicious of it. Our wealth creators should be rewarded and admired not subjected to levels of scrutiny which convicted criminals would rightly find intrusive."

"This is corporate McCarthyism and we shouldn't tolerate it," he told the annual Experian business lunch in Dublin.

Ireland's Director of Corporate Enforcement, Paul Appleby, recently remarked that Irish business still had more to do to clean up its act.

Mr Appleby's office was established in 2001 to tackle a perceived culture of non-compliance with company law which had emerged from state tribunals and other investigations.

However Mr Fitzpatrick said that Ireland's current economic success wasn't created by politicians but by the innate business sense and entrepreneurship of its people.

He added: "All the politicians did was stand aside and let it happen. After years of meddling they finally stood aside and allowed the people to get on with it. Taxes were cut and the economy was allowed to open up and the effect was like putting a flower out in the sun. The economy blossomed."

He questioned whether the Irish Government was starting to shackle instead of encourage the entrepreneurs.

"Our wealth creators should be rewarded and admired not subjected to levels of scrutiny which convicted criminals would rightly find intrusive."

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