Thursday 29 September 2016

Cabinet considers request for second IBRC probe judge

Published 17/11/2015 | 02:30

A request for a second judge to be allocated to help investigate transactions at the former Anglo Irish Bank is to be considered by the Cabinet today
A request for a second judge to be allocated to help investigate transactions at the former Anglo Irish Bank is to be considered by the Cabinet today

A request for a second judge to be allocated to help investigate transactions at the former Anglo Irish Bank is to be considered by the Cabinet today.

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Ministers will be briefed on some of the content from the interim report of Judge Brian Cregan who is the sole member of the Commission of Investigation into IBRC.

However, it is not expected that they will be able to decide on how to try to salvage the commission, amid fears that it will either collapse or be delayed by as much as eight years.

The interim report was received by the Department of An Taoiseach last Friday, having been circulated to interested parties including the Department of Finance, former management of IBRC, and IBRC's special liquidators KPMG, earlier last week.

The Irish Independent understands that, in the report, Mr Justice Cregan asks for extra resources, including a second judge to help analyse 38 transactions which involved write-offs of over €10m.

He also suggests that it will take "several years" to complete a final report. Sources say this is in the region of seven to eight years.

And he outlines major issues surrounding confidentiality and privilege attached to thousands of documents needed by the commission in order to get a full picture of how deals were done by IBRC.

The interim report does not mention the most controversial IBRC transaction, which was the sale of contracting firm Siteserv to businessman Denis O'Brien's Millington. The company subsequently went on to win contracts installing meters for Irish Water.

It is thought that Taoiseach Enda Kenny is open to the idea of appointing a second judge but the legal uncertainty around the documents is more problematic.

A senior source said: "It is not expected that the Government will finalise a means of addressing the issues raised by the judge in relation to issues of confidentiality and privilege."

The Cabinet is also expected to discuss an interim report from the Fennelly Commission which was received by the Taoiseach last Thursday.

Attorney General Máire Whelan has spent several days studying the report, which is understood to seek an extension to its deadline for a final report.

Mr Justice Nial Fennelly, who is inquiring into the recording of phone calls in garda stations, was given a submission date for his commission's report of December 31 this year.

However, this is now likely to be pushed back by several months, meaning that neither the Fennelly nor the IBRC commissions will conclude their work before the general election.

A source said that the interim report by Fennelly will be made public by the end of this week.

Irish Independent

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