Tag Archives: Commission of Investigation

From top: Trína Mulryan and Dr Maeve O’Rourke on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night; at the Tuam mother and baby home in Galway

Last night.

During an item on the final report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes on RTÉ’s Prime Time, in which Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman was present in the studio…

Trína Mulryan, daughter of Peter Mulryan, spoke about the Certain Institutional Burials (Authorised Interventions) Bill which the Tuam Home Survivors Network believes will prevent the holding of any inquest into the deaths of at least 9,000 children and mothers, in mother and baby homes.

Ms Mulryan said:

“First of all, I’d just like to comment that Roderic O’Gorman mentioned there, that he had a number of weeks to read a printed-out version of the report. Survivors and family members affected by this got a number of hours and we haven’t got a printed-off version and we’ve barely been able to look at it.

“So it’s very difficult to actually comment on the report at all but what I will say is that what is very concerning about Tuam in particular, it does call out Tuam as being particularly different to the rest of the mother and baby homes for very negative reasons. And how the children and babies were actually buried there.

“And there is very, very strong evidence to support that there should be a Coroner assigned to work on an inquest to determine how those babies and children died in Tuam. The report just reiterates the fact that the mortality rate was much higher than it should have been and the fact that the conditions were dire.

“So, we’ve asked this question multiple times of Roderic O’Gorman, of Leo Varadkar and we have never received an answer – why there is not a full and proper investigation into how and why they died.

“There’ll be no satisfaction and no truth from any report unless we know that the proper process, the law of the land, is followed, and that those babies and children are given not just a dignified burial but actually the truth of how and why they possibly lie in the grounds of that former mother and baby home institution, why they lie there.

“We don’t even know, we can’t trust the documentation so we can’t say the full picture is painted in the report. What is in the report, the survivors and family members have lived through this, it’s not surprising.

“I will say as well there was a small amount of people who were actually involved in interviews for this report. There are many other people that are living abroad that weren’t interviewed for this. So there are many reasons to believe that the report is not painting a true picture.

“But for the family members of those babies and children, there is no closure until the proper law of the land is followed through an inquest which the legislation the Government is trying to bring in is trying to bypass that process and that’s not good enough. And we will not accept that.

Later, human rights lawyer and Director of the LLM Human Rights Law Clinic at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in NUI Galway Dr Maeve O’Rourke was also asked about the report. Initially, she was asked if the State was stepping up by offering an apology and redress.

Dr O’Rourke said:

“I think all we need to hear is what we heard from the Mulryan family which is that they would like the law of the land to apply. And so it’s really interesting to hear the minister already, as a legal expert, starting to parse the commission’s report because he can see, and I can see, and we can all see that this commission was an interesting procedure and, primarily, is about opening up a story to the public.

“It’s not a justice measure. It’s an aside to the justice measures of our democracy.

“There is a need for inquests, there is a need for Garda specialised investigations, there is a need to enable people to access court and there, of course, are needs for immediate restorative justice measures.

“There’s a massive need for an immediate access to information. The way that this commission operated, I mean we see today in the levels of stress that it has caused to people for everything to be secret for five years until finally they’re allowed to comment. This is not how inquiries into human rights violations are supposed to happen under European or international law. It’s not how they happen in England.

“People who are affected by Tuam and every single institution and, more to the point, by the adoption system as a whole did not have access to any of the evidence coming in, they didn’t have access to their own testimony, they didn’t have access to their own records, they couldn’t suggest lines of inquiry. And so really the Government needs to step up now and it needs to go beyond the limitations of this commission which it had a great part in creating in that the Oireachtas of course set up the 2004 Commissions of Investigation Act – that says nothing gathered can be given to the guards or to the courts.

“But also, you know, it has stood by for five years, while people like the Mulryan family have been saying where is the inquest? The coroner has sufficient powers.”

Dr O’Rourke added:

The Government tomorrow could put one section amendment to the Civil Registration Act, in any single bill going through the Oireachtas, to say ‘the registrar general shall give to every person the information they need to retrieve their publicly registered birth certificate‘.

“Dr Conor O’Mahony who is the Government’s own advisor on children, to the Department of Children, on human rights, said this morning, and I absolutely agree with him, that the way of balancing the right to identity, which is absolutely fundamental, in a democracy – who am I? – the way of balancing that with the right to privacy is to give access to information and then to enable people to voluntarily disclose their contact details to each other. Not to reveal them without people’s consent but who I am, is absolutely fundamental and it cannot be kept from people.”

Watch back in full here.


Meanwhile, this morning, on RTE’s Morning Ireland, broadcaster Mary Wilson put it to Dr O’Rourke that the report has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ms Wilson asked what value “at this time and distance” could inquests serve.

Dr O’Rourke said:

“So the coroner has an obligation, under the 1962 Coroner’s Act to hold an inquest wherever there is an unexplained or suspicious death and the practice, as well, is that inquests are ordinary where people have died in the care of the State. And the point there is is that it is about the individual, it’s about establishing a relationship to that individual, who they are, how they died and that’s what the families are looking for and that is what they’ve been telling us since day one, since the beginning of this investigation. We need to know our own circumstances.”

Ms Wilson then asked if there is nay further information that could be gleaned from inquests that are not already known from the report or from research by survivor groups or people such as Dr O’Rourke.

Dr O’Rourke said:

“But sure nothing to date has given access to the individuals to their own files or their own family files. This has all been an exercise in talking to the public in general terms. There still are no statutory rights. And in practice people’s rights are being denied to their own information, to their own family files.

We have, in my opinion, an existing situation of enforced disappearance which is one of the most serious violations of international law, where someone is institutionalised with the involvement of the State, following which their fate and whereabouts is not disclosed by the State to their family and that needs to be remedied immediately by the Government now.”

Listen back in full here

Last night.

In the Dáil.

Indpendents4Change TD and Dublin MEP candidate Clare Daly brought forward a motion on Ireland’s illegal adoption practices that were facilitated through Mother and Baby Homes.

During her response, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said: “The motion before us is well-intentioned. However, responding to these events and experiences is not as straightforward as the Deputies suggest.”

Ms Daly said:

“We have had a number of discussions on the mother and baby interim reports.

In that sense, it may seem odd that we are giving our limited Private Members’ time to discuss this matter again.

We do so at the request of the shrinking survivor community and on their behalf and because there is unfinished business in this area.

The motion calls on the Government to establish an inquiry into the serious evidence which has emerged in recent times regarding the falsification of documents, birth certificates, illegal registration and other irregularities regarding adoptions and forced adoptions that took place in this State.

It is five years since the horrific story of the 800 burials in Tuam hit the headlines.

At that time, the Government promised all matters in regard to the mother and baby homes would be examined.

The then Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny, said that if this matter was not handled properly Ireland’s soul, like the babies of so many mothers, would lie in an unmarked grave.

Five years on, the feeling of many of the survivors is that nothing much has changed, except many of their members have died.

They feel they are being put down a cul-de-sac into a forum that they never requested, the report of which will not be published.

There needs to be a scrutiny of the illegal adoptions in particular, way beyond the limited scoping exercise to which the Minister, Deputy Zappone, has committed.

Some 45,000 adoptions were registered in Ireland since it became illegal in 1952.

At least the same number of illegal adoptions or arrangements have been made.

Under the terms of our adoption legislation, adopted people do not have access to their birth information.

To obtain that information, they must go through the Adoption Authority of Ireland.

For those who were illegally adopted, the ability to trace their identity is thwarted even further by a cover-up of the illegal practices that went on over decades, facilitated through the mother and baby homes and other institutions with the knowledge and in collusion of religious orders, hospitals, doctors and State agencies.

This is the great unfinished business of these types of scandals in our past.

When the scandal broke about the 126 irregular adoption files, there was shock and consternation but this had been well flagged since the 1930s.

It was flagged by Mike Milotte and Catriona Crowe. I put it on the record many times since 2011.

We know that altered records from Bessborough have been in the hands of the HSE since 2011.

A HSE report in 2012 warned that death certificates were falsified at Bessborough, which potentially could have facilitated adoption under the radar.

In 2013 the Adoption Authority Ireland acknowledged that it was aware of several hundred illegal registrations specific to St Patrick’s Guild.

When the commission was set up we asked that illegal adoptions be included in the terms of reference. They were not included.

This motion is again calling for them to be included because if they are not included, some of the survivors will have to take their cases to the United Nations.

This would mean that, shamefully and yet again, survivors of abuse in this country have to look abroad in order to get access to justice. Those people should get access to justice at home.

The Minister must provide an appropriate response on this issue, way beyond her countermotion, which will cause further problems for the community.

The fifth interim report indicates that there are children who are unaccounted for. We have that information, which is not a surprise.

People do not know if their family member has died or was sold on to families in the United States.

The report also makes it clear that Galway County Council not only knew about Tuam but was involved in covering it up, as the missing minutes from 1937 indicate.

That is only one part of it.

We have to be very clear that the scandal of the mother and baby homes is not limited to Tuam or the terms of reference of the commission.

Those terms of reference only include 14 homes and a sample from the county homes.

That will not get to the bottom of the illegal adoptions because approximately 300 private nursing homes were excluded from the commission.

On top of that, an unknown number of private arrangements took place in other circumstances, for example, where birth certificates were falsified by adoptive parents registering as natural birth parents and passing the baby off as their own while avoiding State involvement through the adoption process.

These cases are almost untraceable.

When the story of the 126 cases of illegal registrations broke I was contacted by a man – coincidentally, a constituent of mine – who, at the age of 38, after his parents had died, was told by a friend that he had been adopted.

In his own words, he was a married man with four children who did not have a biological identity.

He said it took him about a year to come to terms with that fact, saying that he felt that he did not exist, that he was not here and that he wondered about his birth.

He was 70 when he contacted me, and said he searched at length throughout his life to find out who he was and where he came from.

When the 126 cases of false registration emerged, he thought that perhaps he was one of those affected and it gave him an opportunity to find the answers he sought.

However, he did not get an answer.

He only got an answer when we put him in touch with Sharon Lawless, a wonderful person who has done so much work in this area, who helped him, via DNA testing, to find some answers and, happily, some other siblings, which was a tremendous story.

That may not happen for everybody and we really need, as part of the redress scheme, practical steps and support for those who need access to DNA testing.

However, the continued delays in the publication of the investigation’s finding is pushing back the possibility of a redress on an ageing population which cannot wait.

This is an incredibly time sensitive issue and it is highly regrettable that the Government has not heeded the commission’s call for redress to be put in place.

Many of the unofficial arrangements were made in the maternity wards of our public hospitals where young women were forcibly separated from their babies through intimidation, deception and collusion between the hospitals and religious orders, and indeed some adoptive parents.

We know that Cónal Ó Fátharta from The Irish Examiner has done heroic work in this area.

He recently highlighted the case of Jackie Foley, who was 16 when she gave birth in Bessborough in 1974. She signed a consent form to have her son adopted but did not sign her own name.

Instead, instructed by a nun and in the presence of a solicitor and her mother, she was forced to write a different name, that of Micheline Power, a woman who does not exist.

The documentation was deliberately falsified. She signed the paper in a false name for a child that she had already registered under his own name, Dermot Foley, but he was given the bogus name of John Power.

An adoption order issued by the State’s regulatory body, the Adoption Board, was contracted on the basis of these false identities.

Instead of acknowledging the wrong, the agencies involved did what they always do; they circled the wagons, delayed and denied.

In responses to freedom of information requests, these cases are described as “possible illegal registration”.

That is why we have consistently called for the handing over of all files and records by all of the institutions and religious orders and the introduction of appropriate legislation to allow adopted persons full access to their records.

That is the purpose of the motion before the House and the reason we called for these matters to be included in the commission before it was set up. It is also the reason we are calling for them to be included now.

The Minister’s response, which mentions a limited audit, is not appropriate. We know there will be a review of around 1,500 files. That is just 1.5% of the 100,000 files in the hands of the Adoption Authority.

The review is limited to looking for evidence of illegal registrations, not illegal adoptions. The issues around this are much broader than illegal registration and they are not currently being examined.

I note that the Minister’s amendment refers to her leadership in this matter in respect of sampling, among other things, but I have to stress that this is ignoring all of the other illegalities around this issue.

On top of that, we were promised that the audit would be released by Easter. Has the Minister received it? If not, why not? When can we expect it to be published? It will inform some of the other areas of work that have to be dealt with.

We have to examine the issue of redress as a matter of critical importance.

Members of the survivor community, some of whom have joined us in the Public Gallery, will be absolutely gutted to read the Government’s response to our motion.

The collaborative forum’s recommendations, which have been unfairly published out of context and in the absence of the full report, asked for health and well-being packages and a programme of memorialisation.

This is repeated in the Minister’s amendment but it is not declared that this will be acted upon. The amendment calls for a co-ordinated approach from Government and for an analysis to be conducted. There is no actual implementation.

Some five years on from Tuam, a health package is still at the developmental stage. How long will it take for survivors to get redress?

They are suffering from trauma and ill health because of this, yet the Minister’s response to our motion is that she will look at it.

The same thing was said five years ago. The survivor community would have hoped to have perhaps been allocated a medical card as part of a redress scheme. The issue of redress begins when these people are believed and acknowledged.

The Coalition of Mother and Baby Home Survivors, which represents the vast majority of survivors, has asked to meet the Taoiseach to discuss this, but so far he has refused to meet it.

Why will he not meet it to hear, from the mouths of its members, what it means not to be acknowledged, properly recognised or believed, and the effect the lack of action is having on them?

They do not need nice words but rather action to address the trauma that many of these people are experiencing.

We are calling for an urgent and comprehensive response to deal with the delays in the reports of the commission and the adoption audit, a package of basic supports for the remaining survivors to be rolled out without delay, a full audit of all the adoption files in the hands of the Adoption Authority and the illegally adopted to be included in the commission of investigation.

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Thanks Bebe

From top: Siteserv now Actavo offices in west Dublin; Denis O’Brien

In 2015, a Commission of Investigation into debt write-offs by IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, was set up.

It was tasked with examining 38 transactions which cost the State €10million or more each – or a total debt write-down of €1.88 billion.

This morning, Tom McEnaney, of Times Ireland, reports that the commission is still only examining just one of these transactions – the 2012 sale of Siteserv to a company controlled by Denis O’Brien, Millington.

The commission wants an extension to complete its investigation on the Siteserv deal by June 2020.

It was originally meant to report by the end of 2015, this was extended until April 2016, then until the end of 2017, and then until the end of 2018.

Mr McEnaney also reported that it’s his understanding that the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar intends on consulting opposition parties on the future of the entire commission.

Asked about the significance of this intention, Mr McEnaney told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning:

“I think it holds in question the future of a commission that doesn’t seem to be working the way we all expected it to be working into allegations where there’s been never any prima facie case established.

“So, I think, obviously he [Varadkar] hasn’t automatically granted yet another extension and so it must put into question whether the commission will continue to operate, or at least continue to operate in the way it has been thus far.”

Continue reading →

Bill Kenneally

This morning.

In The Irish Times.

Journalist Barry Roche reports that the retired Circuit Court judge Barry Hickson hopes to begin formal hearings at the Commission of Investigation concerning Bill Kenneally later this month.

The judge is tasked with examining the response to complaints or allegations of child sexual abuse made against the former Waterford basketball coach.

In 2016, Kenneally was given a 14-year sentence for sexually abusing ten boys aged between 12 and 16 in Waterford between 1984 and 1987.

Mr Roche reports:

“Retired Circuit Court judge Barry Hickson confirmed he had written to all the parties mentioned in the commission of investigation terms of reference, including An Garda Síochána, the South Eastern Health Board and Basketball Ireland, seeking any legal submissions they might wish to make.

“The terms of reference also refer to Waterford diocese and any political figures or public representatives with knowledge of the allegations of sexual abuse made against Kenneally, formerly of Laragh, Somerville, Co Waterford, between 1985 and 1992.

Judge Hickson said that following consideration of the legal submissions received in response to his letter, he hoped the investigation would be in a position to commence formal hearings later this month to establish how any allegations against Kenneally were handled.”

Previously: ‘We Hope When This Is All Over We Can Find Inner Peace’


From top: Bill Kenneally; Solicitor Darragh Mackin and four of Keneally’s victims: Jason Clancy, Colin Power, Paul Walsh and Barry Murphy outside Leinster House


It was confirmed that the Commission of Investigation into the response to complaints or allegations of child sexual abuse made against former Waterford basketball coach Bill Kenneally has begun its work.

It is being chaired by retired Circuit Court Judge Barry Hickson.

Earlier this month, several victims of Kenneally – who was given a 14-year sentence in 2016 for sexually abusing ten boys aged between 12 and 16 in Waterford between 1984 and 1987 – called on anyone with information to come forward.

They particularly appealed to retired members of An Garda Síochána, the Southern Health Board, former politicians or people who worked with politicians, clergy and lay people within the Catholic Church and business people in the area.

The survivors of Kenneally’s abuse have repeatedly claimed that certain gardai, certain members of the South Eastern Health Board, certain members of the Catholic Church, certain politicians and certain businessmen knew of the abuse and that it continued despite their knowledge of it.

They appealed for people to contact them directly – by calling 085-2403824  or by emailing deisetruth@gmail.com – or to make contact with the commission of investigation.

Since the confirmation that the commission had started its work, Irish Mirror journalist Saoirse McGarrigle, who has been writing about this story for several years, has tweeted that several victims who have waived their anonymity – including Paul Walsh, Colin Power and Jason Clancy – have said:

“To all survivors we will carry you with us in our hearts throughout this inquiry. We hope when this is all over that we can all find inner peace and move on with our lives in the knowledge we have done the right thing.”

The terms of reference of the commission can be read here

Previously: Bill Kenneally on Broadsheet

Vicky Phelan


In The Sunday Times.

Further to Health Minister Simon Harris’s announcement that he is to establish a Commission of Investigation into CervicalCheck in September

Justine McCarthy wrote:

After all the skeletons Ireland has unearthed in the recent decades of shameful revelations, the main lesson the state has learnt is how to bury them again.

This sinking realisation lends a horror movie tone to health minister Simon Harris’s announcement that, come what may, he is going to establish a commission of investigation into the CervicalCheck scandal in September.

For, if he does, the whole rotten mess will be swept into a forum that has been designed to be as impenetrable and as impervious to public scrutiny as Fort Knox.

What part of transparency does the government fail to grasp as it plans to brush the official state inquiry behind the closed doors of a commission of investigation?

Once in there, the shutters will be legally pulled down against the public’s gaze. Its hearings may not even be reported by the media. Indeed, under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, anybody who divulges what goes on at a commission “is guilty of an offence”.

Investigation commissions are the Irish state’s Da Vinci code. Anybody who knows even a smidgen about the Vatican archives understands that the truth can find many hiding places in the dark.

You can have the strictest and fairest chairman or chairwoman in the world, but once a commission is a no-go area for observers, the potential to spot false assertions is restricted. Legalism has an uncanny habit of getting in the way of the truth.

…As Harris contemplates establishing a CervicalCheck commission he might also contemplate why the mother of “Grace”, a pseudonomised, nonverbal, intellectually disabled woman, has stopped co-operating with the commission investigating her case.

Grace was left for 13 years in a foster home after a complaint of sexual abuse was made. After a whistleblower exposed what had happened, the HSE repeatedly misled the PAC, even asserting it had formally apologised to Grace when it had not.

As politicians have a genetic immunity to the adage of once bitten, twice shy, it would be foolish to expect them to learn from the past.

Therefore, before one more commission is established, the law that created them ought to be amended, requiring them to do their business in public, with special exemptions allowable on application.

Justine McCarthy: Closed CervicalCheck inquiry is a betrayal of Vicky Phelan (The Sunday Times)

Related: Review of cancer labs’ tests ordered by Simon Harris has yet to begin (Justine McCarthy, The Sunday Times)


Bill Kenneally

Damien Tiernan, of RTE, reports:

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said the Commission of Investigation into Waterford paedophile Bill Kenneally could begin within weeks.

“The former sports coach and accountant is currently serving a sentence for having abused teenage boys in the 1980s in Waterford.

“The Commission of Investigation is expected to look into the garda handling of complaints; what they did or did not know, possibly as far back as the 1960s and 1970s; matters surrounding the former South Eastern Health Board and the Catholic Church in Waterford.

“The commission is headed by retired judge Barry Hickson.”

Kenneally Commission of Investigation could begin ‘within weeks’ (RTE)

Previously: Files ‘Located’ Two Years After Tusla Said None Could Be Found

‘People Are Dying, Evidence Is Being Lost’

‘Waterford’s Big Dirty Secret’

Protected For 30 Years

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy speaking about the sale of Siteserv in the Dáil on May 6, 2015


In the Sunday Business Post.

Tom Lyons reported that the Commission of Investigation tasked with investigating the sale of Siteserv to Denis O’Brien, and other matters – which is being led by High Court judge Brian Cregan – has told Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy that if she doesn’t reveal her sources, “it may not be possible to advance some of the issues raised” by her.

Mr Lyons reported:

The Commission wrote to Murphy earlier this month in relation to her 300-page witness statement, much of which it said appeared to be “dependent upon information and views supplied to you by unidentified persons”.

It said that the allegations in her statement and accompanying documentation appear to be based on confidential banking information about named individuals that “may have serious implications for the good name and reputation of the person or persons mentioned.”

The Commission said it was “of the view that, if such allegations, information and views are to be admitted into evidence, it will be necessary in the interests of fair procedures, and in order to protect the constitutional and person rights of the persons named, that the identity of the sources of such information and views should, in the first instance, be disclosed to the Commission.”

It said it would then consider whether such allegations, information and views should be admitted into evidence, and whether the identity of the source should be disclosed to witnesses or potential witnesses “bearing in mind the right of a witness to confront his or her accuser, where serious allegations are made against him or her.”

The Commission requested Murphy disclose the source or sources of 23 allegations made in her 300-page witness statement to the Commission as well as furnish it with six emails without redacting the name of their sender.

These allegations relate to O’Brien, Brian Harvey, the then chief executive of Siteserv, Mike Aynsley, the chief executive of IBRC and Richard Woodhouse, a senior executive of IBRC, among others.

…“The Commission is appreciative of the assistance you have provided it to date,” it said. “However, if and to the extent that sources are not disclosed and / or unredacted documents are not made available to the Commission, whether based on a claim of parliamentary privilege or otherwise, it may not be possible to advance some of the issues raised by you.”


On Kildare FM, Ms Murphy said:

“Yes, I received a letter from Justice Brian Cregan during the week, I think it was Wednesday. I will be taken, and have taken and will take further advice before responding in detail. Essentially, I’ve given a commitment to people who came to me with information that that would be treated in confidence. I gave them absolute assurance that that would be the case and I’ll respect that. I feel duty-bound to respect that.”

Siteserv sale probe: Murphy told she may have to reveal sources (Sunday Business Post)

North Kildare TD Catherine Murphy Intends To Stand By Siteserv Sources (Kildare FM)

Previously: [REDACTED]’s 1.25% Interest Rate

Bringing The House Down

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You may recall how, yesterday, the Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath withdrew the proposed terms and conditions of a commission of investigation into ‘Grace’ and the alleged abuse she suffered at the home for 20 years.

His decision to remove them came immediately after stinging criticism of the proposed terms and conditions by Fine Gael TD John Deasy, from Waterford, and Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness.

Mr Deasy alleged that there was a cover-up by the HSE, saying: ‘this was a concerted and organised attempt to hide information and conceal the truth by a clique of HSE managers‘.

Mr McGuinness recounted the experiences of other alleged victims of abuse who lived at the foster home and said if Mr McGrath’s terms and conditions didn’t include the 46 other people who stayed at the home, the State would be “heaping further abuse” on the families affected.

Specifically, Mr McGuinness said, before Grace, a 12-year-old girl was taken out of the home – after the school she attended told the girl’s mother she would attend school bruised, battered and beaten. Mr McGuinness said the girl’s mother made a complaint to the South Eastern Health Board in 1992 but was “… told to shut up. She was told not to repeat those stories. And she was threatened legally”.

This morning, the Dáil unanimously agreed expanded terms of reference which state the 46 other cases will be examined in a second module of the commission of investigation.

But it’s being reported that families of the 46 other cases and the whistleblowers remain unhappy with the revised terms.

RTE reports:

“The whistleblowers added that while the revised terms state that phase two will undertake an investigation of the recommendations in the report of Conor Dignam SC, the terms omit Mr Dignam’s recommendation to look at “allegations of cover up”. This, they say, is of serious concern.”

Further to this…

Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly TD spoke about the matter in the Dáil this morning.

And she raised concerns about the connection between law firm Arthur Cox, the HSE and Resilience Ireland, which last week published a 2015 report it was commissioned to do, by the HSE, on the Grace case.

Ms Daly said:

“Minister, I have to say, the entire manner in which this has been addressed has been utterly shambolic and wholly unacceptable and I really hope that this does not come back to bite us.

“And the reason why it is particularly important that we get things right in this case is that we know that the backdrop is, at best, I suppose, economical-with-the-truth information being given, but, at worst, deliberate misinformation around these issues in previous attempts to resolve them so forgive us if we’ve trust issues where the HSE are concerned: we think they are legitimate.”

“Now, yesterday, we went into the meeting with yourself. We wanted to raise the issue of the draft order – the statutory instrument upon which the terms of reference were based. The first response we got was, ‘well, sure, God, nobody else raised that’. We want to address the terms of reference. We had to commission legal opinion from Eame’s solicitors to explain why the order had to be changed and that the terms of reference could be ultra vires if you didn’t do that.”

“We then went on to actually submit changes to the terms of reference – none of which were included I might add.”

“Now, no doubt, minister, you will argue that the order and the terms of reference, in the manner in which they have been changed, will allow us to address all of the issues that we have raised and that is possibly the case. And I seriously hope that that is the case.”

“But I found it ironic this morning that one of the amendments that we specifically had posed was the problem that was highlighted by the PAC [public accounts committee] – the fact that earlier attempts by people to get to the truth, including Government ministers and Oireachtas committees were deliberately thwarted by persons or persons unknown in the HSE. It’s an absolute fact.”

“In terms of the information put out, that the gardai were blocking publication of the reports – not even allowing ministers see them – we know it now that that’s not true.”

We know in the case that I raised with Minister [Leo] Varadkar about a vulnerable person remaining in that facility up to 2015, the minister efficiently asked: are we sending anybody to this? And the answer, very cleverly, he got was: don’t be worrying, Minister. We’re not sending anybody, it might be a private placement but that’s sorted.”

“It wasn’t sorted. So they didn’t actually care about the truth or the person at the centre of it; it was all about covering up for the organisation. And against the backdrop of the Devine Report, which had been hugely discredited, the Resilience Ireland report terms of reference drafted by Arthur Cox who were the legal team that represented the HSE in the Grace case. You couldn’t make this up. Heads have to roll over this.

“I really hope that the changes have got it right and that we be proven wrong on this but there’s a lot hanging on it.”


Previously: ‘Examples Of What Is And Was A Cover-Up’

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Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the Dáil this morning

This morning.

In the Dáil.

Two hours of statements are being made on the establishment of a Commission of Investigation into NAMA.

They can be watched live here.

Opening the statements this morning, Fine Gael TD and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the following:

NAMA has answered every question put to it by the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Committee of Public Accounts. I acknowledge that there are differences of opinion but there are also findings on which we all agree. The Committee of Public Accounts will soon publish its findings and I look forward to reading that report. While I will await the committee’s report, based on the evidence I also accept that the parties involved are entitled to hold differing opinions on matters of commercial judgment and that this does not imply wrongdoing by any party.

“Today, I do not believe that sufficient grounds have been established on which to progress a commission of investigation without first taking the views of the Committee of Public Accounts into account.

“I would like to comment on ongoing criminal investigations. It has been suggested by some that arrests associated with the UK NCA investigation imply wrongdoing on the part of NAMA. On the contrary, NAMA advise that the UK NCA has confirmed that no aspect of the agency’s activities are under investigation. Deputy Wallace has stated previously that he has brought important information to the attention of the Garda Síochána. We should commend him for doing so if he believes such action is warranted.

“Anyone who believes they have such information, should bring that information to the gardai and allow them to assess and, if necessary, investigate it. After all, it is the role of the gardai to determine if there are grounds for a criminal investigation in this state, into any matter.

“As far as I know, no such investigation is being pursued by the gardai. I’m also aware that the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI has examined elements of the [Project Eagle] transaction. Should these agencies wish to engage with Nama, Nama has made it clear that it is more than willing to do so.

“Through all of this, I want to be clear that the allegations of wrongdoing that have been made, against particular individuals, and that that are being criminally investigated, are a matter of serious concern. These concerns will remain until investigations are concluded and their findings are made known.

“Here, today, these investigations have not concluded and we do not know their findings. This Government, and I hope this House, supports each of these investigations and stands ready to assist in any way that is helpful.

“Throughout the Opposition’s statements today, there may well be bounds for other Nama transactions to be reviewed. Either through a Commission of Investigation or otherwise. As we know, the Comptroller and Auditor General reviews the accounts in operation in Nama. As deputies should already be aware, the C&AG is already reviewing and assessing a broad sample of approximately 50 Nama transactions from a value-for-money perspective, under the section 226 of the Nama Act.

“I’m sure members will agree: we’re looking forward to receiving the C&AG ‘s section 226 report. And I expect, as is always the work of this C&AG to be very thorough.

I have little doubt that the calls to change Nama’s mandate, or even halt Nama’s activities, will continue. A change of mandate is outside the scope of a Commission of Investigation but it will attempt to summarise the position as, unfortunately, public discourse rarely captures what the agency can and cannot do.”

“I want to be very clear about this: Nama’s original mandate remains in place and will remain in place until it is fully wound down. Nama has the independence to decide the most appropriate strategy, or best strategies, for achieving that mandate.

In any market, but particularly in an open, transparent market, such as Ireland, a move to constrain Nama’s activities would be commercially discriminatory and would irreparably damage our international reputation as a secure and transparent place to do business.

Think of the unfinished housing estates that have been brought to completion. The dilapidated hotels that have been renovated and brought back into the market. And the ugly skeletons of abandoned offices and apartment projects that have been completed.

“This has only been accomplished through the significant investment that these assets, and in our economy, by the purchases of Nama, IBRC and bank loans and assets.

“It is as important today as it is, it is as important today as it ever was that Ireland remains open to investment capital, for the development of our economy. The [inaudible] spectrum of investment opportunities.

I will not direct Nama to halt or change its sale strategies and, indeed, I will not direct Nama to do anything that is contrary to their commercial mandate which they’re entitled to do, under the Nama Acts.”

There you go now.


Watch live here

Previously: Screech

That Nama Vote In Full

‘Nobody Has Presented Me With Evidence Of Wrongdoing By Nama’