Any Other Business?

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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)

19 thoughts on “Any Other Business?

    1. Panty Christ

      I wouldn’t go as so far as to blame FG here, it’s embedded in the civil service to obstruct and delay the release of information. FOI is treated as “risk” by the Irish civil service and they only furnish the bare amount of information when asked.

      1. dav

        perhaps, but blame must be, in part, be laid at the blushirts and their brother in arms – FF. The have maintained this status quo. The have empowered the faceless civil service, who at it’s higher echelons maintain a policy of no accountability for their actions.

      2. rory

        The fact that Alan Dukes is a former leader of Fine Gael; was that taken into account when you fostered said opinion?

    2. SOMK

      Sure that’s patently what the colloquial big picture is, but what about the small picture, those three, rather mundane looking sentences which were blanked out, what does the fact they were blanked out tell us, specifically? I’ve personally no idea other than having to re-emphasise that the dept of finance was has access to all papers, was free to send an observer to all meetings and was given the minutes to the meetings would imply that the department of finance was complaining about the access it was getting to these meetings. Which considering that the whole IBRC thing was dodge central, you’d have wanted the department of finance to have complete access to everything and if they didn’t, if IBRC were being shady, then, then… oh who are we kidding, this isn’t the country where bankers get locked up, or ever will. And to be honest I’d rather they be put in stocks than locked up, imagine getting to pee in Alan Dukes’ face? Now that’d be something to tell the grandkids about.

      1. Curly Judge.

        Pee in Alan Dukes’ face while he is unable to defend himself?
        Something to tell your grand children about all right.
        That, and how you used to steal old ladies handbags perhaps?

  1. phil

    Whoever gets elected these same civil servants will be waiting for the new government , and it does nto matter a toss what the public who will elect the next Government want, nothing will happen unless these civil servants approve , and their plan B will be to delay for 5 years if they dont

  2. Brian S

    There needs to be a complete cleansing of the upper levels of all civil service departments. It’s rotten to the core.

    1. The Real Jane

      Well I’m sure there are swathes of people ready to take their place. This country seems to be awash with the competence to run the health service, the transport service, education, social services – sometimes even at the same time…yet for some reason, opportuntiy never knocks and they’re forced to confine their expertise to the internet, loonline and taxis.

      Perhaps their moment in the sun has now come.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          I’d say it was someone rather artistically making the point that what you said is meaningless, Jamie Redknapp-esque armchair punditry. Obviously though, it’s much easier to shout ‘troll’ than admit she has a very good point.

          1. Brian S

            Because everything you’ve puked out of your brain through your mouth is top notch.

            Add them to the moron pile

  3. Anne

    This makes Michael Noonan look like the big fat liar that he is.

    What’s the criteria for redacting information I wonder and how did the 3 sentences ever supposedly come under that? Is it based on whim? Looks that way to me.. but surely there’s criteria set out that should be followed.

    1. RiderOnTheStorm

      Good point, Anne – there must be some criteria and dare we presume….. some oversight/answerability, however, good luck to us all with that.

      From Citizens Information website:
      http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/national_government/standards_and_accountability/freedom_of_information.html

      Information on the FOI Act is available from:

      FOI Central Policy Unit

      Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
      7-9 Merrion Row
      Dublin 2
      Ireland

      Tel:+353 (0)1 631 8258
      Fax:+353 (0)1 604 5750
      Homepage: http://foi.gov.ie/
      Email: cpu@per.gov.ie

  4. Anne

    I’ve read about 13,000 people who had mortgages with Irish Nationwide, (IRBC) are to have their mortgages sold to foreign vulture funds.

    “Why won’t Coalition let families bid on mortgages instead of selling them off abroad at half price?
    In just a few weeks, their mortgages, taken out with Irish Nationwide Building Society, are to be sold to the highest international bidders. But the Government, in an act of raw stupidity and vandalism, is expressly forbidding the families from bidding for their own loans.

    The mortgages will be sold off in batches of several thousand, and bought by foreign fund managers, eager for a home for their clients’ money. The performing mortgages will be bundled together and sold at a discount of about 10 per cent. The less attractive ones, like those in arrears or serious negative equity, could be sold at discounts of 50 per cent or more.”

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/stephen-donnelly-an-outrageous-act-of-vandalism-and-sheer-stupidity-30013668.html

    And yet people will complain about mortgage holders getting a write off on their mortgage debt, as if it’s some sort of moral hazard, but there’s no problem giving these foreign vultures a write off? Write offs that we’ve funded.

    1. RiderOnTheStorm

      Just like the people of Eire got saddled with private bank debt while the bondholders with a busted flush get paid in full.

      Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

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