Tag Archives: Michael Noonan

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan before the Oireachtas Budget Oversight Committee this morning

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is appearing before the Oireachtas Budget Oversight Committee this morning ahead of Budget Day on October 11.

From the meeting…

Noonan to phase out USC over five years (RTE)

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Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform  Pachal Donohoe (right) and The Fine Gael Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  at Government Buildings this afternoon

This afternoon.

With the Cabinet agreeing to appeal the decision that ireland gave illegal state aid worth 13bn Euro to Apple….the following is reportedly what was agreed:

1. Arrange for annulment proceedings to be brought before the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) on State aid SA. 38373 (2014/C)(ex 2014/NN) (ex 2014/CP) implemented by Ireland to Apple;

2. Request the Attorney General to prepare the legal grounds in support of those proceedings and to take all other steps incidental to the conduct of those proceedings;

3. Propose the following motion before Dáil Eireann:

That Dáil Éireann:

(i) Supports the Government decision to appeal the European Commission’s decision that Ireland provided unlawful State aid to Apple.

(ii) Commits itself to the highest international standards in transparency in the taxation of the corporate sector;

(iii) Resolves that, no company or individual receives preferential tax treatment contrary to the Tax Acts and calls on the Revenue Commissioners to continue to observe this principle;” and

4. To reaffirm Ireland’s 12 and half per cent corporation tax rate

5. To arrange for a review of Ireland’s corporation tax system by an independent expert to be appointed by the Minister for Finance, excluding the 12 and half per cent corporation rate.

Fight!

Apple ruling is aimed at harming Irish tax regime, claims Noonan (Irish Times)

Apple and state aid: the end of the affair (Vincent Boland, Financial Times)

Earlier: Apple Green

Rollingnews

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DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 31JAN09 - Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor, Columbia University, USA, at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch

From top: Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton and economist Joseph Stiglitz

This morning.

On the Today with Seán O’Rourke show.

Fine Gael Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy; former IMF director Donal Donovan, and Irish Independent editor Fionnan Sheahan were on the panel to talk about the Apple tax ruling.

Later in the show, Nobel prize winning economist Prof Joseph Stiglitz spoke to Mr O’Rourke.

Grab a tay.

Richard Bruton: “The principle, that the Irish Revenue authorities ruled on in 1991 and in 2007 was a standard approach. The principle that they enunciated was that a company, based in Ireland, should pay tax on its Irish activities and that was the ruling that was applied but what the EU is trying to now used state aid rules to do is to say that Ireland should become the international policeman for dealing with worldwide problems where companies are seen to play one tax code off against another. Very specifically, in relation to the US situation as you know, they offer a deferral tax system where the liability for tax in the US, which is obviously legitimate ultimately by companies like Apple, where all their research and development goes on – they allow a deferral so that tax is not brought back to the US authorities. But the EU itself has recognised that this €13billion is not available to Ireland because the US, it recognises that the US has a legitimate interest in getting access to this tax revenue and, indeed, their deferral rules would see that revenue taxable in the US and Apple have said that so Donal [O’Donovan] is simply wrong. The [EU] Commission isn’t authoritative on this issue, they are seeking to break entirely new ground…”

Sean O’Rourke: “Well no, what they’re doing is using the rules on the single market which prohibit member states from tailoring special inducements to incur rich companies to locate operations on their soil and the very fact that we allowed Apple, and we connived with Apple nationally, not necessarily breaking any of our own rules, but we allowed them to use Ireland as the basis for this, effectively, non-existent headquarters – no employees, no activity, to put money offshore and to avoid paying tax. It stinks to high heaven and we’ve been caught out on it and maybe we should just accept that fact.”

Bruton: “No you’re wrong, Seán. Ireland has a substantial substance from companies like Apple, 350, 000 over all. In the case of Apple, it’s 6,000 employees and they have paid tax on their earnings in Ireland.”

O’Rourke: “But why do we allow, why do we allow the to pay virtually no tax on their worldwide earnings or 90% of them…”

Bruton: “We apply…”

O’Rourke: “Why do we facilitate that?”

Bruton: “Don’t talk me down when I’m trying to answer….”

Later

Bruton: “The EU wants to make Ireland some sort of international tax policeman which would be entirely negative to our interests and so many countries invested here.”

Paul Murphy: “…This argument by Fianna Fáil and the Government is utterly disingenuous and dishonest. The idea is that somehow Ireland stumbled into this situation of being a tax haven and different companies are managed together in the different loopholes of different countries and they all just happened to set up in Ireland. It was designed to do that. That’s the point of the tax ruling in 1991. So it isn’t about the [EU] Commission now asking Ireland to be a tax policeman in retrospect, because in 1991 and 2007, a ruling was designed to say to Apple: we don’t mind if you come here and you set up Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe. And you have head offices that have nobody working for them whatsoever and you funnel through $22billion of profits a year, in the case of Apple Sales International and, don’t worry, we won’t charge you tax on it. So we didn’t stumble into this situation, it was a designed thing and now the Government is trying to like make things not clear because the Government has a real problem on it.”

O’Rourke: “Donal, you don’t often agree or nod when Paul Murphy is speaking but you’re nodding vigorously there.”

Donal Donovan: “Well, you know, you’re right, I don’t often agree with Joseph Stiglitz either but actually I do think there’s a great deal of truth in what Paul says. This is something that has not happened by accident. This is a long-plan strategy and we did remove parts of this last year, and the year before but we did so at the point of a gun. I mean Minister [for Finance] Noonan was quite right when he removed the ‘double Irish’ and his [inaudible] residency but he waited until he had absolutely overwhelming pressure arising for the US and elsewhere and public opinion. And I think we’ve been on the back foot of this, Sean. We have reacted when we’ve been pushed into reacting, there’s no doubt about it that we have not been proactive in earlier years in trying to change the situation. And really, it’s a much bigger issue than the technical question of the legal matters who approved what in 1991. Really this has become a political and moral issue. We’ve seen ever since the US Congress held hearings, we’ve seen it with Panama Papers, Lux Leaks, everything, our 26% [rise in GDP] figure is related to this. All of this, the world is changing and, again, I wouldn’t always agree with Fintan O’Toole on many things but, this morning, he said we have to be on the right side of history and we should get on the right side of history.”

O’Rourke: “So, Richard Bruton… if the situation is changing, and you’ve highlighted yourself how the Government had introduced measures last year, if the situation is changing, why don’t we sort of shrug our shoulders and say to Apple, ‘look, sorry guys, the world is moving along, you’ve got a massive cash pile, something in the order of, is $230billion, we have to take a sizeable slice out of it’, the rules have changed and maybe we’re not going to lose a load of jobs if we do that.”

Donovan: “Well I think that’s right because the arrangements that gave rise to this, you’re absolutely right, have been changed already so it’s not that we’re relying on this to continue in the future… we should do the right thing and make up for it.”

O’Rourke: “Could we not take that approach, Richard Bruton?”

Bruton: “No, because we have established in the OECD a process whereby these sort of reforms will be done on a collective basis, with countries acting together and that is the approach that has already brought the sort of changes we’re talking about where, the way in which companies can aggressively play one tax off, one country off another is being wound back. There is numerous examples of where that occurs in the treatment of interest, the treatment of capital, the treatment of company resident, the treatment of intellectual property, the treatment of deferral of tax and so on and what we have to do is collectively sit down and work out agreements that will be applied universally. What the EU wants to do is to make Ireland the international policeman – to go out and say to the US, ‘you should not be applying deferral system’, ‘you should be collecting money from Apple straight away’ so Ireland should go and collect that money….Let’s not forget that if the word of the Irish authorities, independent Revenue Commissioners, independent of Government, if that cannot be relied upon, on companies who have invested and employed 350,000 people in Ireland, up and down the country…”

O’Rourke: “But we gave our word and then showed we were up to no good. We were conniving with these guys to avoid paying tax…”

Bruton: “That is precisely what we will be fighting to appeal against. There is no, it is not the case that we were conniving with anyone. We made legitimate rulings with the Revenue Commissioners made independently and they offered their opinion and companies have made their decision…”

O’Rourke: “But to quote [European Competition] Commissioner Margrethe Vestager yesterday, if my tax bill was 0.05%, falling to 0.005%, I would think I would need to have a second look.”

Bruton: “But those are bogus numbers because what that ruling is saying is that the activities of Apple in the US, where they do all their research and development, their manufacturing in China, should be taxed, that tax should be collected in Ireland. There is no basis for that, the US authorities will collect tax from Apple on the so-called deferral system that they have and, as you know, this is hotly debated in the US, how they should reform that and whether they should have instruments to bring that money…”

Later

Donovan: “I just want to say…if the Minister Bruton could say: when these rulings were issued in 1991 and 2007, and I accept that they were rulings by the Revenue, did the Revenue check with Brussels at the time, as to whether these rulings were, or would be considered consistent with state aid rules? Because if we went ahead and did them, and issued them without getting the OK from Brussels, then we can’t really complain if, later, Brussels, says: ‘well, no I’m sorry you did these rulings but they were illegal.

O’Rourke: “Minister?”

Bruton: “These are rulings on tax matters and the Irish authorities took a view that is absolutely common across tax world that you are taxed in the jurisdiction on the activities in your jurisdiction. The issue then around tax structures that companies have – that involves much more elaborate collaboration across the system and we’ve sent up vents to precisely address that, this process at the OECD…”

Talk over each other

Murphy: “Minister, you know you’re being dishonest there, you do. You know that the thing was set up to facilitate it, that’s the point of the tax rulings and I think the Government’s spin around this is designed to make it seem all so very complicated right.”

Bruton: “That is not the case.”

Murphy: “And the reality is extremely clear: one of the biggest, multinational corporations in the world didn’t pay tax to the tune of €13billion-plus. It’ll get close to €19billion when you add on interest to Ireland and we are owed that tax. Now, Government would like to make it seem. Yesterday they said, first of all, well, at least the Commission has given us a clean bill of health in terms of Google and Facebook, the Commission had to come out and say, ‘no, we haven’t, we haven’t looked at them’. Then, the Government said, ‘but sure even if we got the money, we could only spend it on paying down the debt’, the Commission came out and said, ‘no, that’s not the case, you can spend it on capital expenditure. And the Government has a major political problem – this is their bank guarantee moment..”

O’Rourke: “And this is my cue to bring in [Irish Independent editor] Fionnan Sheahan. Just speaking of the Government’s political problem. Do you think they’re going to give us a decision today based on Michael Noonan’s recommendation – an immediate decision to appeal?”

Fionnan Sheahan: “No. I think, as Donal has said, they will take time to assess the ruling. You said at the start, the Government’s decision was to appeal – that was half the government the other half was saying something very different. And if you look at the government’s handling of this: the European Commission versus our Government has been a bit like {Danish TV series] Borgen versus Ballymagash [fictional rural town in RTÉ’s Hall’s Pictorial Weekly]. We have Margrethe Vestager basically cleaning us out for an hour yesterday on the steps of the European Commission building, quite authoritatively setting out her case on the basis of the European Commission’s ruling and then we have Michael Noonan basically floundering around, talking about all folksy tales about seed potatoes and so on and so forth. Well, to give you an old folksy analogy to match that: she ate him without salt. And I think there are major questions about Michael Noonan’s handling of this entire affair over recent months.”

Meanwhile, later in the show, Nobel prize winning economist Prof Joseph Stiglitz also spoke to Mr O’Rourke, saying:

“I think they’re [the Irish Government] wrong [to appeal]. I think, it was an interesting discussion [above]. I thought, to put it frankly, what the minister was saying is all utter balderdash. The fact is that you were encouraging tax avoidance, you knew it, let’s not make any pretence about it. You got  a few jobs at the cost of stealing revenues away from countries around the world and that’s the kind of activity that has to be stopped.

Listen back in full here

Meanwhile…

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Last night.

On RTÉ’s Six One.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan spoke to Brian Dobson about the ruling.

During their discussion, Mr Noonan said:

This isn’t a moral issue. This is a financial and a taxation issue.”

There you go.

Watch back in full here

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan

The Irish Times reports:

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary will both attend this year’s secretive Bilderberg conference which begins in Dresden, Germany on Thursday.

They will feature among a list of leading names in global politics and industry at the three day event where a number of topics are up for discussion including China, European migration, the Middle East, Russia and the US “political landscape”.

See full list of expected attendees here.

Michael Noonan to attend Bilderberg conference in Germany (Irish Times)

Rollingnews

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Chairman of NAMA Frank Daly and Finance Minister Michael Noonan

You may recall the sale of Nama’s property loan portfolio in Northern Ireland – the biggest loss on a Nama loan sale for Irish taxpayers.

The sale is now the subject of investigation by the National Crime Agency in the UK and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US.

You may also recall how Stormont’s Committee for Finance and Personnel carried out a ‘fact-finding’ review of the sale for eight months.

Publication of an 18-page report on the progress of this review was embargoed until just after midnight this morning.

It criticised Nama and Finance Minister Michael Noonan – specifically for Nama refusing to give oral evidence to the committee; for Minister Noonan not encouraging Nama to give the same; and for Minister Noonan not stopping the sale of the Northern Ireland portfolio once he became aware that bidders PIMCO were due to send a sum of money to Northern Ireland Nama advisor, Frank Cushnahan.

From the report…

For its part, DFP [Department of Finance and Personnel] provided initial oral evidence and papers on 23 July 2015, but subsequently delayed providing further evidence until 9 October 2015, after it had concluded an internal file review and engaged with the NCA.

NAMA, on the other hand, while agreeing to answer questions in writing, refused to give oral evidence. The reason cited by NAMA is that the appropriate forum to which it should account for its activities is the Oireachtas and to committees established by the Oireachtas.

While the Committee does not dispute this point, it believes greater co-operation from NAMA would have assisted it in fully understanding the DFP-NAMA relationship since 2009.

And:

As with the oral and written evidence received from the other stakeholders, including the documents received from the Republic of Ireland’s (RoI) Department of Finance and NAMA, the Committee placed the DFP papers in the public domain, except for seventeen documents relating to individual borrowers.

In this latter case, DFP cited data protection and commercial sensitivity concerns for its request that the documents were not to be released. The Committee, however, took legal advice on this matter and continues to pursue the issue with DFP.

And:

In addition to the aforementioned evidence gathering exercise, the Committee accepted an invite from the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to make a formal address on the progress of the review. This invitation was made in light of the respective committee inquiries into the Project Eagle sale.

During the address on 1 October 2015, the Chairperson also took the opportunity to point out that there was an increased onus on NAMA to appear before the Committee, even simply out of courtesy and respect for the institutions in Northern Ireland.

And:

The Committee notes with regret the decision of the NAMA Board not to suspend the Project Eagle sales process once PIMCO had disclosed to the Agency in March 2014 that PIMCO’s proposed fee arrangement with the Brown Rudnick international law firm included also the payment of fees to Tughans, a Belfast law firm, and to a former external member of NAMA NIAC. From the evidence to date, the Committee considers this development to be a core area of concern within the entire sale and purchase process. The need for further information and clarification in this regard underlines the case for NAMA attending an oral hearing of the Committee.

Whilst it is does not fall to this Committee to pursue, given the seriousness of the revelation by PIMCO, it is unclear why the Irish Government’s Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, did not intervene at this point, by exercising his general powers of direction over NAMA to suspend the sales process until matters were investigated fully. The Committee also notes that Minister Noonan did not inform the Northern Ireland Executive of this development. In addition, the Committee regrets that Minister Noonan did not encourage NAMA to attend an oral hearing of the Committee.

And:

The Committee established that NAMA ‘…had no knowledge of meetings between Mr Cushnahan and prospective purchasers of NAMA-secured assets in Northern Ireland…’ including whilst he was on the NAMA NIAC. This is deeply concerning to the Committee.

And:

The Committee also noted from the BBC (NI) Spotlight programme that the other former external member of the NAMA NIAC, Mr Brian Rowntree, stated that the NIAC members had access to information which was of a ‘commercially sensitive nature’ and which offered ‘commercial opportunity’ and would have been of some value to a bidder for Project Eagle.

This is of particular significance as it appears to contradict the position adopted by NAMA to date. For example, in written evidence to the Committee on 27 November 2015, NAMA stated that the external members of the NAMA NIAC ‘never had access to confidential information’. Furthermore, in evidence to the Dáil PAC on 9 July 2015, the NAMA Chairman, Mr Frank Daly, stated that the external members of the NAMA NIAC ‘did not gain any confidential information or any useful insider information from being a member of that advisory committee’.

Therefore, given these seemingly contradictory positions, the Committee recommends that a full examination is made of what precisely was discussed at the NAMA NIAC meetings and what information was shared with the NIAC members.

And:

The Committee found the refusal of NAMA to attend an oral evidence session particularly unhelpful. NAMA needed to be more open and accessible given the importance of the Project Eagle portfolio to the Northern Ireland economy. The Committee does not accept NAMA’s rationale for not attending an oral hearing of the Committee, especially given that Agency representatives have previously held many meetings with Ministers and officials in Northern Ireland.

Read the report in full here

Previously: Spotlight Falls On Noonan

Mark Stedman/Rollingnews

H/T: Namawinelake

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Michael Noonan at the Limerick Count Centre last night

Michael Noonan has this morning taken one of the last two seats in Limerick city..

Frilly Keane writes:

A media blackout on Noonan was in place until the call…In the end it was 393 Surplus transfers from Shinner Maurice Quinlivan that actually got him elected (without reaching the quota BTW )

So here’s what I want ta’ know, will Miriam [O’Callaghan] be asking Michael Noonan to say thank you to Sinn Féin?

Previously: Grace, Noonan And Monageer

Pic Eric Clarke

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Yesterday’s Irish Examiner showing the letter sent by the foster father of Grace to the then Minister for Health Michael Noonan, above, in August 1996

You may recall the story of Grace, the mute child – now a woman in her 40s – who remained in a foster home with an abusive family in the south east of Ireland for more than a decade after other children had been removed.

The other children were taken out of the home in 1995, after concerns were raised with the then Southern Health Board in 1992.

Yesterday’s Irish Examiner reported how – after the health board initially decided that Grace be removed – Grace’s foster family appealed against this decision but lost.

Following that, the foster father, in 1996, sent a letter lobbying the Minster for Health Michael Noonan to allow Grace stay in the home.

It’s unclear what exactly happened after this letter was sent but Grace did stay at the home for another 13 years.

Daniel McConnell, of the Irish Examiner, spoke with Matt Cooper on Today FM yesterday evening to explain the significance of the letter.

He said:

“Whether, it seems, by accident, or inadvertently, the intervention seems to have had a chilling effect because what’s detailed in the documents is that Grace’s removal was delayed on foot of the request from the foster father. Then that removal never happened.”

“…We put a series of detailed queries through the Fine Gael press office, to him [Noonan], last [Monday] night and he said he had nothing more to add…”

Separately.

Readers may also recall the allegations made by former Fine Gael councillor and barrister Garry O’Halloran in relation to Minister Noonan.

Mr O’Halloran has claimed that, at the 1997 Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Dublin, Michael Noonan ‘ran away’ from him even though Mr Noonan was scheduled to meet with him.

Mr O’Halloran wanted to speak with Mr Noonan – not about Grace – but about the late Fr Jim Grennan, who had abused several children in Monageer, Co. Wexford, the diocese of Ferns. One of Fr Grennan’s victims was with Mr O’Halloran at the Ard Fheis.

At this point, in 1997, Fr Grennan was already dead, having died in 1994.

Mr O’Halloran, who was chairman of the then South Eastern Health Board, wished to speak with Minister Noonan to request that he order an inquiry into the health board’s response to abuse allegations made by 10 children against Fr Grennan back in 1988.

Mr O’Halloran explained:

“The allegations were raised in 1988 and they were validated immediately. There was a local teacher, a local social worker and a local guard who all did a very good job. But after that, a superintendant came along and destroyed the file and the guards did nothing, the health board did nothing.”

He [Grennan] went on to carry out devastating rapes after that, with devastating consequences.”

Mr O’Halloran was prompted to lobby Mr Noonan in 1997 – three years after Fr Grennan died – because Mr O’Halloran had learned that one of Fr Grennan’s victims had been gravely abused for several years, on a regular basis, after 1988.

The day after Fr Grennan died, on May 9, 1994, aged 61, a child of 13 took an overdose of medication and was admitted to hospital. On May 30, the child told their mother they had been molested by Fr Grennan, in the months prior to Fr Grennan’s death.

Mr O’Halloran explained:

I was asking questions. I was in the health board and everything was being denied. The acceptance of any clerical child abuse was denied. When we got the thumbs down from the authorities, there was only three of us working on it at this stage – Billy Moroney, a farmer from New Ross, journalist Veronica Guerin, and myself.”

“We worked closely together. But Billy and myself set up a group called Survivors and we used to meet every month  in Waterford and, very quickly, we had people coming and all the situations were the same. All the victims had raised a complaint about being raped and abused and they were all ignored.

The eventual Ferns Report, which was published in 2005 and looked at 100 allegations of child sexual abuse made between 1966 and 2005 against 21 priests in the Diocese of Ferns, confirmed all of Mr O’Halloran claims and those of Fr Grennan’s victims.

In light of the findings of the Ferns Report, readers may wish to read Mr O’Halloran’s recollections of the Ard Fheis. He said:

“[Noonan] kept us waiting all night, no sign of him. Eventually I spotted him leaving the podium and he was heading for the door and, when I followed him, he sprinted as fast as he could and when I reached the door he was already in his car and there was black smoke whirring up into my face, from the wheels spinning. And Phil Hogan was standing alongside me and Phil said to me, ‘you relax, the Minister for Children [Austin Currie] is meeting your deputation, everything will be fine.‘”

“So we met him [Currie] and, after about half an hour, he said, ‘right you have your inquiry’. So that was fine. I contacted his secretary on the Monday morning to progress the matter and she said, ‘hang on a minute’. And then she came back and said, ‘No there isn’t any inquiry’.”

“And I said, ‘Oh yes there is, we met the [junior] minister on Saturday night, he said we have our inquiry.’ And she said, ‘oh no he [Currie] didn’t. What he told you was that he would inquire into it and, having inquired, there’s no substance to your claims and allegations’.

Last Saturday, Mr Currie denied this was the case, telling the Irish Times:

“I said I would inquire into their allegations when I got back to the department on Monday. The next thing I heard in the press I had promised an inquiry. I had not. I know I brought that family’s concerns to the officials in the department.”

So what does Monageer have to do with Grace?

It should be explained that Mr O’Halloran came forward to recall his non-meeting with Minister Noonan at the Ard Fheis in 1997 – after he heard Minister Noonan give an interview with Richard Crowley on RTÉ Radio One on Thursday, February 4.

During that interview Minister Noonan was briefly asked about the letters he received about Grace.

Mr O’Halloran knew nothing of Grace when he heard the interview – but it jogged his memory in relation to Fr Grennan. Mr O’Halloran also felt it was important to explain that the case of Grace wasn’t an isolated incident.

Ever since his allegations about the Ard Fheis were published, many people have contacted Mr O’Halloran about Grace.

Further to this, he has written to both the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and Minister Noonan.

He has asked Ms O’Sullivan to investigate Minister Noonan’s conduct – for his time as Minister for Health from 1994 to 1997.

In addition, he’s asked Minister Noonan to resign.

Mr O’Halloran, a barrister, explained his reasons for this:

“In 1995, having received repeated evidence of complaints of child sex abuse in the particular foster care facility, it was decided to place no further children in that facility and to remove Grace forthwith. The foster parents had an entitlement to appeal that decision and they did appeal it.”

“The appeal committee accepted that the original decision was a proper decision and that it was in the best interest of the child that she be removed forthwith from that facility. In response to that the foster father wrote directly to the minister stating that they did not accept those decision and hence they were putting in a further appeal to him.”

“Notwithstanding the fact that he had no statutory function in the matter, he passed the matter on to his officials and his junior minister. He was notified by the health board, the matter was governed by Section 43 of the Childcare Act, which meant that if there was any ongoing concerns that a judge of the District Court should make the decision on the basis of what was in the best interest of the child.”

Instead of the matter going to a judge, it ended up with a further appeal committee – the composition of which remains unknown to this day – deciding that the child be left at this foster care facility, and there she remained for a further 13 years until a social worker recently appointed to her case, brought the matter to attention.”

“As far as I’m concerned [Minister Noonan] is a man that shouldn’t be holding high public office and he merits investigation.”

Listen back to Mr McConnell’s interview in full here

Letter shows ‘Grace’ remained in home after foster father lobbied Michael Noonan (Daniel McConnell and Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner)

Austin Currie drawn into case of girl at ‘foster’ home (Kitty Holland, Irish Times)

Irish Examiner/Rollingnews

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A letter sent from former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes to Finance Minister Michael Noonan on February 14, 2013 

You may recall how Mr Justice Brian Cregan was appointed to carry out a Commission of Investigation into IBRC on June 16, 2015.

One of the terms of reference is “whether the Minister for Finance or his Department was kept informed where appropriate in respect of the transactions concerned, and whether he, or officials on his behalf, took appropriate steps in respect of the information provided to them.”

The commission’s establishment followed Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy asking Finance Minister Michael Noonan questions about the sale of Siteserv to a company owned by Denis O’Brien.

Further to this.

The former chairman of IBRC Alan Dukes sent a letter to Finance Minister Michael Noonan on February 14, 2013 – a week after IBRC went into liquidation.

This letter was obtained from the Department of Finance by Ms Murphy, following a Freedom of Information request.

Readers will note there were three sentences redacted in the letter of February 14, 2013.

Following an appeal to the Information Commissioner, the commissioner annulled the decision of the department to redact these sentences.

It found the manner in which the Department had processed the request “most unsatisfactory” and not in keeping with the statutory provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Further to this, Justine McCarthy, in yesterday’s Sunday Times, reported:

The Sunday Times has established that the three missing sentences from Dukes’s letter are:

“1. The Department of Finance has at all times been provided with all papers presented to the board;

2. The Department of Finance has been entitled to have an observer at every meeting of the board;

3. The minutes of all committee meetings were systematically provided to the Department of Finance.”

…The ruling by Stephen Rafferty, an investigator in the information commissioner’s office, was made on February 8 but only made public last Thursday. The department has until March 1 to lodge an appeal to the High Court.

…When told what the redacted portion of Dukes’s letter says, Murphy replied: “It’s strange the department would have redacted that. It obviously gives a clue about something. There seems to be a surprisingly small amount of information [available] about the relationship between the department and the bank, given how bad we know that relationship was.

The information commissioner was quite scathing about the department and the fact they are taking their time about whether they’ll release it or lodge an appeal indicates there is not a culture of openness there.”

Anyone?

Revealed: Hidden claims over IBRC liquidation (Justine McCarthy, Sunday Times)