Wednesday 20 November 2019

Media coverage of IBRC appointment 'unhelpful', says Dukes

Thomas Molloy

THE head of IBRC has blamed "misplaced media commentary" for negative coverage of a senior appointment at the bank.

Chairman Alan Dukes said the appointment of Department of Finance employee Neil Ryan to a senior role at the former Anglo Irish Bank was a positive move, but the ensuing media coverage was "damaging and unhelpful" to the bank's reputation.

The comment was contained in a letter Mr Dukes wrote to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan after the minister was asked to confirm his confidence in the board of IBRC.

Mr Dukes said Mr Ryan's skills and experience would allow him to make a positive contribution to the bank.

"Essentially, the positive message of Neil's future contribution to the bank was tarnished due to misplaced media commentary," he wrote, adding that chief executive Mike Aynsley had counteracted the "inaccurate reportage" to staff.

Mr Ryan, a former banker who joined the Department of Finance in 2011, will oversee the winding down of the bank's loan book. He was seconded from the Department of Finance, where he was assistant secretary.

The letter was released to 'RTE News' under a Freedom of Information request.

Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Dukes said the appointment of Department of Finance official Neil Ryan had been "misrepresented" by the media, without pointing to any particular article.

Mr Dukes said yesterday that Mr Noonan had subsequently expressed confidence in IBRC's management team.

"I am fully confident in the management and the board of IBRC," Mr Noonan wrote in November in response to a Dail question by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Mr Ryan's appointment "does not in any way reflect a lack of confidence by me in the management or board of the bank", he added, but had improved commun- ication between the organisations.

Alan Dukes, who is one of two public interest directors sitting on the bailed-out banks, wrote one letter to Mr Noonan in October, according to documents released to RTE.

Mr Dukes also paid tribute to Mr Ryan's skills and experience, saying they represented an important contribution to the bank.

Yesterday, the former Fine Gael leader dismissed the episode as a "storm in a tea cup", although he conceded that this was the only time he had written such a letter.

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