Friday 15 December 2017

Former IBRC chairman accuses TD of making 'unsubstantiated slurs'

Alan Dukes has reacted angrily to the questions asked by Catherine Murphy about the wind-down of IBRC
Alan Dukes has reacted angrily to the questions asked by Catherine Murphy about the wind-down of IBRC
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The ex-chairman of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) has criticised a TD over what he described as "unsubstantiated and unprincipled slurs" on the integrity of former board members.

Alan Dukes issued the strongly-worded broadside to Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, whose questions helped trigger a commission of investigation into the sale of certain assets by the former Anglo Irish Bank involving major losses.

These include the sale of contracting firm Siteserv to Millington involving a write-down of €119m.

In a statement issued last week, Ms Murphy questioned whether Finance Minister Michael Noonan was forced to prematurely wind down IBRC due to the "fractured" relationship between his officials and senior IBRC management.

She also questioned whether deals were done without the knowledge of Mr Noonan, saying she believed the Department of Finance was excluded from key meetings regarding write-downs and credit arrangements agreed by IBRC.

But in an email to Ms Murphy, which has been seen by the Irish Independent, Mr Dukes branded the suggestions being made by the TD as "scurrilous".

He also gave the TD an unredacted copy of a letter he had written to Mr Noonan in 2013.

This stated that the Department of Finance was provided with the minutes of board meetings and all papers presented to the board, and had also been entitled to have an observer at every board meeting.

In the email to Ms Murphy, Mr Dukes said the letter showed there were "no grounds for your scurrilous suggestion that 'the minister was forced to act prematurely in winding up IBRC because he was worried about what was happening in IBRC outside of his control'.

"On the contrary, they show that the Department of Finance had every means of being fully informed of the bank's activities."

He asked Ms Murphy to cease what he described as "unsubstantiated and unprincipled slurs on the integrity of the board and management of the post-nationalisation entity".

Mr Dukes was appointed public interest director to Anglo in November 2008 and subsequently became chairman in July 2010.

He remained in that position until Anglo - by then known as the IBRC - was placed in special liquidation in February 2013.

Last night, Ms Murphy confirmed she had received Mr Dukes' email, but insisted she was standing over her remarks.

"We need to have the information [on asset sales] out in the public arena," she said.

"It is not just about me being satisfied. It is about citizens of this country being satisfied. They are the ones who are carrying the can for this.

"This is not about personalities. It is about understanding why certain decisions were made."

The row comes a week after the Office of the Information Commissioner strongly criticised the department's "unsatisfactory" handling of a request from Ms Murphy for documents relating to the liquidation of IBRC.

Irish Independent

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