Noonan is wheeled out to back up Kenny in political row over IBRC
Published 23/04/2015 | 02:30
Finance Minister Michael Noonan's impromptu appearance on television last night was a clear effort to defuse a potentially damaging political row for Government.
Both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin believe that Messrs Kenny and Noonan can be made to look bad as they pick over the details of a reported loss to the taxpayer of €105m. Opposition party leaders Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams moved with alacrity on Tuesday to capitalise on work done by Kildare North Independent TD Catherine Murphy.
Yesterday was day two of their onslaught. And Martin and Adams pushed for an independent inquiry into the sale by IBRC of the Siteserv company to businessman Denis O'Brien's Millington for €45m.
They wanted to know why €5m was paid to Siteserv shareholders to sweeten the deal; why the same financial and legal advisers acted for both sides in the transaction; and why so much of documentation released to Ms Murphy was "blacked out."
Micheál Martin felt there were "huge potential conflicts of interest" in the Siteserv deal.
But the Taoiseach hit back and accused Gerry Adams of "hypocrisy" and reminded Micheál Martin that Anglo Irish Bank was a rotten carcass which brought down the Irish economy at a cost of €34bn to taxpayers on Fianna Fáil's government watch. Mr Kenny said the taxpayers' watchdog, the Comptroller & Auditor General, could examine the issues - not another independent inquiry.
The Taoiseach promised more details would emerge under Freedom of Information Act. But Michael Noonan was coming sooner to back up the Government case on television.
On RTÉ's 'Six One' News, Mr Noonan said he trusted IBRC chairman Alan Dukes that the Siteserv sale delivered the best possible deal for the taxpayer. For Mr Noonan, the €5m pay out for Siteserv shareholder was an "essential component."