Book Review: McGrath, 'White-Collar Crime in Ireland: Law and Policy'

AuthorLuke Danagher
PositionUniversity of Limerick
Joe McGrath (ed),
White-Collar Crime in Ireland: Law & Policy
Press 2019), ISBN 978-1-911611-21-9.
Luke Danagher, University of Limerick.
‘The Irish architecture addressing white-collar crime has changed profoundly since the
1990s, but particularly in the last decade since the financial crisis. These are some of the
concluding remarks from Dr. Joe McGrath and it is against this backdrop that this book
has been written. In bringing together authors from professional and academic
backgrounds, White-Collar Crime in Ireland: Law and Policy makes a significant contribution to
the scholarship on white-collar crime in Ireland. This publication cogently captures the
multi-faceted nature of white-collar crime through its deft treatment of its varying subjects.
It seems uncontroversial to state that the study of white-collar crime, broadly speaking, is
both an area with a distinct history, and one which is experiencing a renaissance as of late
through increased scholarly interest. Not only have academics from various disciplines
converged in their study on the effects and causes of white-collar crime, but the general
public too has become acutely aware of the potential for white-collar criminals to cause
unfathomable levels of financial, social, and environmental harm. Prior to providing an
overview of the contents of the book, it is important to note one of its particularly
commendable features, which is its ability to weave 10 articles seamlessly into one
publication in a manner which never feels disjointed or artificial - a not so simple feat for a
publication of this kind.
The following is designed to provide a snapshot of the contents of each chapter. Chapter 1
provides a strong introduction to the book and exposes the reader to the plethora of
contemporary issues in policing, prosecution, and punishment. Chapter 2 highlights
numerous concerns in relation to, inter alia, the role played by structural issues in placing
prototypical white-collar offenders outside of the remit of ‘ideal’ prosecution. The
increasingly important role played by regulatory agencies in recent years is addressed, in
addition to an assessment of the role of whistle-blowing in facilitating prosecutions.
Chapter 3 provides a nuanced account of cost/benefit analysis for the reader to consider
and this account is coloured to great effect with some very interesting real -world examples.
Chapter 4, while focusing on different types of fraudulent schemes, provides an
outstanding contextual account of corporate investigations in a modern context,
particularly as they relate to the processing of large volumes of data. The protections
afforded to whistle-blowers under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 are well discussed in
Chapter 5. In this chapter, the authors criticise, among other things, the sectoral approach
to whistle-blower protection, as this creates opacity in relation to potential protection and
the deterrent effect this lack of clarity has on whistle-blowers is explored.
Thereafter, Chapter 6 provides a fascinating insight into the need to assess corporate
culture during investigations into financial services firms. A firm’s culture was presented as
not just an innate feature of a particular corporate sector, but as a reflection of external
forces too. For example, the culture of a financial services firm may be influenced by the
level of competition in the market, which may drive firms to become more or less
consumer-focused, and a lack of financial literacy amongst the public generally may
promote a less consumer-focused approach. The role of the regulator, it was suggested,

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