Independent TD Mattie McGrath (top) and Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan (centre right), acting as Ceann Comhairle in the Dáil last night and an internal Anglo Irish Bank email from 2010 (above)
Independent TD Mattie McGrath, from Tipperary, was the final TD to contribute to the Dáil debate on the Commission of Investigation into certain IBRC transactions last night.
He started to speak about the 2012 sale of Siteserv to Denis O’Brien’s company, Millington, when Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan – acting for Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett – interrupted him and warned him that certain people could take action against the Houses of the Oireachtas.
At one point during the debate, Mr McGrath, addressing Finance Minister Michael Noonan, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Environment Minister Alan Kelly, read from an email.
He also referred to Denis O’Brien as Mr X.
Mattie McGrath: “I’m delighted that the Minister is here tonight and I know he’s tried hard, since he came in to Government to try and sort out the banking mess but there are huge questions that have arisen.
And I’ve some questions here for the minister tonight as well. In March 2012, an O’Brien special-purpose vehicle, Millington Ltd, was bidding €50 million in cash for Siteserv. The company we hear so much about today. And don’t look so perplexed minister, I’ve some questions that I’ve…”
Bernard Durkan: “I just want to warn you, deputy, I don’t want the debate moved into what is the subject matter of the origins of the debate so that just because issues in the public domain,some of them, I don’t want new issues, and new material, to be brought into it. So, and the House should always be aware, the House should always be aware, that members have absolute privilege and you can exercise that absolute privilege. However, that doesn’t stop a member of the public, outside, from taking an action against the Houses.”
McGrath: “I didn’t say he could and I hope you’ll allow my time. So, I don’t know, are we here to trash it out or not.”
Durkan: “You know the rules of the House.”
McGrath: “I know the rules of the House, but I think that was upheld by my good, learned colleague from Tipperary [Judge Donald Binchy] last week in the High Court. This is what’s going on. I mean, given that Mr X, sure were all know who he is, owed €500 million to IBRC in March 2012, why did that bank not ask him to pay down this debt by €50 million rather than giving him money to purchase Siteserv? Simple question.
Given that Mr X owed IBRC and IBRC were not concerned that Mr X was funding the purchase with more debt from other banks, making IBRC’s lending positive situation unsustainable, simple questions. What steps were taken by the board of IBRC to gain a full picture of Mr X’s Irish and international borrowings, before entering into the Siteserv deal?
If you or I walked into the bank, or Minister Noonan, and we owed them ten grand and we wanted a loan of €4,000, we’d have to ask the questions. So it doesn’t seem to have…there are two levels here of what’s going on, two different rules.”
Other IBRC customers were being put out of business or tiny bits and pieces in relation to what was going on.
…And what’s more worrying is is an internal email that I have here from two senior managers in IBRC. I won’t name them as you’ve asked me to, but the content of the email is strange. “You want to send me over your one, your one on Nama, if you do, if you did for this.” “I will lash it out later.” “Have a quick look at Mr X, there will be fireworks.” Internal. There. From your minutes. You said you couldn’t find them, they’re all there. I have them here I can hand them to you and documents to go with them.”
Last Night: Meanwhile, In The Dail