‘You Don’t Produce Full Files When One Specific Question Is Asked’


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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:

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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:

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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.”


Previously: NOKPMG!

Government gives go-ahead for commission of investigation into certain IBRC transactions (Philip Ryan, Irish Independent)

Noonan says inquiry will examine preferential interest rates given to IBRC clients (RTE)

Siteserv: attacks on civil servants ‘regrettable’, says Moran (Irish Times)

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34 thoughts on “‘You Don’t Produce Full Files When One Specific Question Is Asked’

  1. Irish Bull

    When i replaced the Journal for Broadsheet in my bookmarks, I just knew i had done the right thing. Something largely amiss in Ireland Inc.

    1. Tony Malony

      Couldn’t agree more!

      Let’s not reward sites like TheJournal with click and traffic when they were too yellow to hold strong on this story.

  2. manolo

    Certainly unethical the Woodhouse position, but we are still very far from having something that will put someone in jail, fire someone or to ‘undo’ deals.

      1. Odis

        Well put them back Clampers, There’s no need to get excited. Michael’s put all this on the long finger.

  3. Ferret McGruber

    It smells like Dukes is being marinated as the sacrificial lamb now in the hope that throwing him (one of their own) into the volcano will make it all go away. But the Thin White won’t go quietly. He knows what’s up.

  4. Denito

    Dukes saying that Woodhouse, in his executive role, was kept out of the discussions over the Siteserv deal doesn’t really conflict with the idea that he was present at a board meeting where the deal was discussed.

    The search for a smoking gun continues…

    1. b

      careful now, that type of rational thinking has no place here, no pick up your pitchfork and stand over there

  5. Truth in the News

    A Commission of Inquiry with restrictive terms to conduct a “review”, this is not
    ivestigation at all, its an avoidance fudge to buy time, if Noonan wants anyone
    to believe him, the least he can do is release all the documentation he cited in
    the interview into the public domain by placing it the Dail Library.

    1. Odis

      Hey as a tactic, it worked out well for them, in the Savita case. AMIRITE?
      Way to go Michael.

  6. Just sayin'

    I know the mis-filing sounds fishy, but I’ve seen the file-keeping in the Department of Finance and its awful. They gave away most of their clerical officers to the Department of Social Protection so no one really has the time to file any more.

  7. _d_a_n_

    It’s encouraging that an inquiry has been set up. It’s also encouraging that previously ‘missing’ files have been found and released. None of this is helping O’Brien and the government instigated it.

    There’s no doubt that the relationship between the state and Denis O’ Brien has been murky (to put it lightly) through successive governments. We’re coming to an election, it might just be that this relationship is too much trouble and too damning to maintain. Maybe I’m way off, but I’m getting the sense that Denis may be being thrown to the wolves here.

    If this is correct, and I’m by no means confident of it, it means a seismic shift in the make up of Irish political society. The editorial line of a huge chunk of our nations media will shift slightly. Not only this, but the fact that these media organisations can sometimes act in O’Brien’s and the government’s interests may come to the fore of public consciousness. Would this make the government look more independent and less corrupt? After Fianna Fail’s performance over Aylward and Power, making them look like the good ol’ boys of Irish politics, it seems this distancing could work in the governments favour.

    O’Brien is already being positioned as representing the toxic relationship of business and power in this country, especially on a website not too far from here, and also in The Times, Miriam Lord’s piece yesterday as an example. If this is the case it is indeed in the government’s interest to make O’Brien and maybe Dukes the sacrificial lambs here, and sever that relationship. All the media ownership in the world wouldn’t be able to change how that would look to the Irish electorate. It’s also obvious that the state can have no more dealings with O’Brien without massive public scrutiny and criticism. His day in the sun may be over.

    It’s an old story. Commerce has gotten far to close to state, and forgotten that when it comes down to brass tacks, it’s those who deal in power that wield it.

    Maybe I’m being too hopeful, but I can see some logic in the state fupping O’Brien here, and sincerely hope it happens. The relationship may have reaches critical mass.

    1. Lilly

      That’s interesting. Someone I know, who has his finger on the pulse, said exactly the same thing earlier. Hope you are both right.

  8. ahjayzis

    FG and Labour had the ingredients to ensure they were in power for a generation – a crisis caused by FF, a system set up by FF, a bailout entered into by FF.
    Why they somehow morphed into FF on steroids is beyond me, this government is the greatest missed opportunity in Irish history, they had the political capital to completely transform this country, yet they used it to bring us back to the early nineties…

      1. ahjayzis

        I’m talking about reform, not money to fix the road. Rebalancing the power differential between parliament and executive doesn’t cost money, reforming the budgetary process doesn’t cost money, respecting parliament and actually answering f**king questions doesn’t cost money, ending political patronage in boards, judges and civil service jobs doesn’t cost money, introducing a quantum of accountability to senior civil servants and ministers doesn’t cost money, reforming the legal professions doesn’t cost money, reforming the Senate doesn’t cost money.

        A crisis wasted, this government that ran on reform is hell-bent on returning us to the status quo that prevailed in 2007.

    1. Kolmo

      Yes, but like most politicians right before an election since the beginning of time, they’d promise the stars but just carry the shi*-baton of greasy corruption from the previous shower…

  9. Panty Christ

    The biggest drawback of all apart from the foreskin on an elephants penis is that if there’s a commission of investigaton then there can’t be any debate on the subject in the dawl chamber while its doing its work

    1. Walter-Ego

      Correctomundo Panty. And now Varadkar said it won’t be finished until (drum roll please)…………… after the election.

  10. Frilly Keane


    When will it stop!

    Time for CAB to march in and seize the show has long being upon us

    Its all bullshittery and cûntology until they do
    And ye all know it

    Fair play Broadsheet and Broadsheeters, new and ould. Its all still news.
    But now is the time to move onto the second act

    The campaign to get the CAB crew up off their holes and do their jobs

  11. Lilly

    Do any of you believe DO’B was inundated with messages of support as per Mary Minihan’s report today? Colour me sceptical. Where would they contact him for starters, the courtyard Topaz. I don’t think so.

Comments are closed.

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