Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, published legislation on Friday, which will impose sentences of up to five years for those who fail to assist a white collar crime investigation.

The Minister is due to unveil the Criminal Justice Bill 2011 in the Irish parliament next Wednesday, in line with the governments commitment to delivering legislation on white-collar offences within 100 days of entering office.

The Bill involves new legislation which will allow Irish police to break up the 24-hour period of detention into segments for those detained for serious offences.

The  new legislation means suspects can be temporarily released after a certain period to time to facilitate investigation.

Discussing the Bill, Minister Shatter said: “When in opposition I was hugely concerned at the length of time the investigations were taking, into Anglo Irish and the other banking issues related to it. On my first day in the department I inquired as to the progress being made and where there were areas of difficulty.”

He said he was not only concerned about the banking issues but “other revelations in respect of other individuals that had been in the public domain in respect of which prosecutions had also not been taken”.

As a result both the new government and the Attorney General’s office gave it priority.

“The objective is to complete the enactment of this legislation in both the Dáil and the Seanad before the summer recess,” he added.