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Banking Inquiry is split over calling O'Brien


Fianna Fail Finance spokesman Michael McGrath

Fianna Fail Finance spokesman Michael McGrath

Fianna Fail Finance spokesman Michael McGrath

The Banking Inquiry is split over a proposal to call businessman Denis O'Brien as a witness due to the recent controversy surrounding his relationship with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath has sought Mr O'Brien's appearance on the grounds that he is one of the "highest non-property buyers in the country". Mr McGrath wrote to his fellow committee members this week on the back of the recent controversy surrounding Mr O'Brien's dealings with IBRC.

The Cork South Central TD told RTE he believes the work of the committee will be "enhanced" if Mr O'Brien appears to give evidence.

He pointed to Mr O'Brien's previous role as deputy Governor of Bank of Ireland from 2005-2006, adding that it is important that commercial borrowers, "as well as property borrowers", are heard from.

Mr McGrath's request is due to be discussed in private by the inquiry on Tuesday. The proposal to bring in Mr O'Brien is being supported by Mr McGrath's party colleague Senator Marc MacSharry.

But the letter, which is understood to be 15 pages in length, was described as a "political stroke" last night by one committee member on the Government side.

Other members of the inquiry have privately expressed grave concern about the proposal due to the potential legalities surrounding the newly-established Commission of Investigation. Sources say an appearance is unlikely, due to the existence of the commission, which is examining up to 40 IBRC transactions including the sale of Siteserv to the Denis O'Brien-owned firm Millington.

Irish Independent