THE inquiry into a series of transactions by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) is due to dominate Dail proceedings on Tuesday as the Government moves to take control of the controversy.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan is considering a number of changes to the terms of reference after a series of meetings with Opposition figures at the Department of Finance.
Significantly, Mr Noonan said he would examine widening the scope of the inquiry to deal with the relationship between the former Anglo Irish Bank and the Department.
But there will be no budging on the December deadline for the report into the way IBRC dealt with loans to up to 40 large businessmen, including Denis O’Brien. The Government has also stood by its decision not to provide for a separate report into the sale of Siteserv.
Speaking after his meeting with Mr Noonan , Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the minister indicated he will examine how to bring the department under the scope of the inquiry, which will likely be led by judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill.
“We have also been given a commitment that the relationship between the Department of Finance and IRBC would be examined, although the exact manner in which that was going to be determined in the terms of reference had yet to be decided,” he said.
Independent TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald both indicated that they felt the meeting with Mr Noonan was constructive.
Ms Murphy was informed by Mr Noonan that transactions that were executed beyond the bank’s liqudation in 2013 will also be considered by the judge.
“I was concerned about the timeline concluding with the liquidation of IBRC and it intended to conclude with the liquidation of IBRC. But they are looking at making provision for things that have a natural follow over or need to have a natural follow over. That is really very important,” Ms Murphy said.
This was confirmed last night by Government sources who insisted the judge will be given the flexibility required to examine transactions as he deemed appropriate.
Ms Murphy also suggested that she is satisfied with information provided by Mr Noonan in relation to the size of transactions set to come under the inquiry’s scope.
The Government was criticised after the terms of reference said only transactions greater than €10m will be examined.
But the Kildare TD said she was assured that smaller transactions which add up to €10m when accumulated will be considered.
Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald told reporters:
“We emphasised to the Minister the need to act speedily in the interest of public confidence.
“He (Michael Noonan) listened carefully to what we had to say. We did the meeting with him on the basis that it is a genuine consultation and I hope it is that.
“It is in everybody’s interest to get these terms of reference right.”
The Dail will this evening debate the terms of reference with provision in place for a further debate tomorrow.