Sunday 18 March 2018

I've no animosity with Noonan, insists Dukes

Michael Noonan said that there was nothing unusual about big debt write-offs
Michael Noonan said that there was nothing unusual about big debt write-offs
John Downing

John Downing

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan said he was not confident answering Dail questions on IBRC due to lack of information, Alan Dukes recalled.

However, Mr Dukes said he had put this directly to the Finance Minister, asking whether there was ever a specific occasion when he was nervous or embarrassed going into the Dail on the issue. He said Mr Noonan had replied that there was not.

"That seemed to me to be more of a fear of a possibility than an actual fact," the former IBRC chairman remarked.

Both men are now aged in their early 70s, were first elected to the Dail on the same day in June 1981, were leaders of Fine Gael at different stages, and Mr Dukes also served as Finance Minister. Mr Dukes said they had always got on well enough together over the years.

Asked whether he had spoken to Mr Noonan recently, Mr Dukes said he phoned his former colleague last Tuesday. He told the Finance Minister he was "extremely concerned about what was coming out" of the Finance Department and asked for versions of the documents without details "blacked out".

Mr Dukes was asked specifically about his relationship with Mr Noonan after recent events. "As far as I know there is no personal animus between us," he said.

But Mr Dukes also said that "despite a tough meeting" with Michael Noonan - a man who like him was also a Fine Gael leader - relations remained good personally.

"He re-appointed me - he could have fired me on the spot," Mr Dukes said.

Irish Independent

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