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Corporate and white-collar crime in IrelandA new architecture of regulatory enforcement$
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Joe McGrath

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719090660

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719090660.001.0001

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Protectionism and procrastination

Protectionism and procrastination

the era of inertia in corporate affairs

(p.30) 2 Protectionism and procrastination
Corporate and white-collar crime in Ireland

Joe McGrath

Manchester University Press

Chapter 2 shows that the failure to develop a jurisprudence incorporating corporate wrongdoing into the architecture of the criminal law is not surprising. It was a consequence of Ireland’s history as a predominantly agrarian state and the resulting political and social inertia surrounding corporate affairs. Ireland remained a largely agrarian state for most of the 20th century. Initially it advanced protectionist policies to shield Irish industry from outside competition and as an assertion of sovereignty. Later, it opened up its economy, embracing free market capitalism to boost the prosperity of the State. However, earlier protectionist policies meant that there was little big business in Ireland so it had neither need nor experience of constructing a regulatory framework. Corporate activity was viewed positively and there was little political reflection on the desirability of corporate accountability and there was even less cultural recognition of the negative effects of corporate activity. The Irish State did not regularly or rigorously review company law and it avoided passing any original Irish company legislation. Corporate wrongdoing was addressed using conventional criminal law, without adoption or reflection, because it was easier than designing a specialised system of corporate enforcement.

Keywords:   Protectionism, Regulatory procrastination, Sovereignty, Agrarianism, Policy Transfer

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