Finance Minister Michael Noonan on Six One this evening
Finance Minister Michael Noonan appeared on RTÉ’s Six One this evening to explain why a Commission of Inquiry will be carried out into certain transactions by IBRC.
“What has changed my mind on the process [of a review into IBRC] is that, since then, new allegations have been made. There’s no evidence underpinning any allegations but the allegations are now causing public concern and the review, in my view, is insufficient to deal with the new allegations so I recommended that the Government do a full Commission of Investigation which would report but the end of the year…”
“A new set of allegations emerged, surrounding the speech made by Deputy Catherine Murphy in the Dáil and that, together with the fact that there were cases before the courts about the publication of Deputy Murphy’s speech heightened public concern and I believe, at this stage, it’s in the public interest to put the matter in the hands of a judge who, under the powers of the 2004 Act will examine everything, including the original allegations which gave rise to the review by the liquidators and taking into account the new allegations as well…”
“There may be wrongdoing but, if there is, there’s no evidence of it in any set of allegations. And all we have is a series of allegations but there’s public disquiet, it’s increasing, it’s in the public interest to have these matters fully investigated. We can’t have a belief going around that there was actions that were improper and that, in some way or another, the taxpayer lost out…”
When pressed by host Brian Dobson about the drip feed of information, following the way in which he answered questions put to him in the Dáil by Catherine Murphy – she asked 19 parliamentary questions before she got a comprehensive reply – Mr Noonan said:
“I answered questions, absolutely fully in the way questions are answered in the Dáil. There were full answers made but, obviously, if you go for Freedom of Information and look for a full file, you’ll get background information as well. But there’s a methodology in the Dáil, if somebody feels the answers they got are inadequate. They can refer it to the Ceann Comhairle and adjudicate. Now the questions were adequately answered and of course there’s a drip feed of information – there’s thousands of documents, thousands of pages of documents in IBRC and thousands in the Department of Finance… You don’t produce full files when one specific question is asked”
Mr Noonan’s department has also released a four-page document containing the draft terms of the inquiry.
From the draft:
Meanwhile…Philip Ryan in the Irish Independent reported tonight:
“The Department of Finance has discovered a tranche of board meeting minutes from the Irish Bank Resolution Company (IBRC) which Finance Minister Michael Noonan previously said he had not received.”
“The minutes include the IBRC board meeting where the sale of Siteserv to a company owned by businessman Denis O’Brien was discussed. However, the details of the sale, including the payment of €5m to Siteserv shareholders, was not outlined in the documents… A Department of Finance source said the files, which are described as ‘board packs’ were “incorrectly filed” in the Department and only recently discovered… A Department of Finance source said the documents do not change the fact that the Minister was not made aware of the details of the Siteserv deal or any other significant transactions at IBRC.”
The Department of Finance has since published the minutes from the meeting on March 15 2012:
Readers will note the presence of former IBRC senior executive Richard Woodhouse at the meeting on March 15, 2012.
But, following a press conference held by former IBRC chairman Alan Dukes on April 24 of this year, the Irish Times reported, on April 25, that:
“Mr Dukes also revealed that Richard Woodhouse, then IBRC’s head of asset management, was kept out of discussions over the Siteserv deal within IBRC, as he also managed the relationship between the bank and Mr O’Brien. ‘We appointed Tom Hunerson instead, and also Peter Rossiter, the chief risk officer, to oversee the transaction,’ said Mr Dukes.”