Sunday 25 February 2018

Minister says IBRC deal was viewed as 'ordinary'


Niall O'Connor and Philip Ryan

Opposition TDs have called for an independent inquiry into a series of transactions by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Concerns were raised about the conduct of the IBRC, particularly in relation to the sale of Siteserv to a firm owned by businessman Denis O'Brien.

The company bought Siteserv for €45m in 2012.

But Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris said the sale of Siteserv by the IBRC was viewed at the time as "the ordinary course of business".

In the Dail, Mr Harris said IBRC was not required to consult with Finance Minister Michael Noonan to approve the sale at the time.

Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris said Mr Noonan met with the bank to discuss concerns about the Siteserv transaction. He said Mr Noonan received "strong assurances" that the transaction had been "thoroughly assessed" and was managed "to achieve the best result for the State".

Mr Harris also said it was decided that a senior department official would be seconded to the IBRC. He said a condition of the EU/IMF bailout included putting relationship frameworks in place with the banks

But Independent TD Catherine Murphy said the sale lacks "transparency", claiming the transaction resulted in a loss to the State of over €100m.

She told the Dail she has obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act which detail the concerns raised by Department of Finance officials over the sale of Siteserv to the O'Brien-owned firm Millington.

Ms Murphy said the files showed the Department was "not satisfied" that the Siteserv deal was the "best one for the State".

The Kildare North TD added the documents highlight there were "serious problems in the relationship that existed between the IBRC, formerly Anglo, and the Department of Finance".

Ms Murphy said the documents showed the department was concerned at a "number of very large transactions" of over €100m "being poorly executed" under the direction of the then CEO, Mike Aynsley.

She called on the minister to reveal what other transactions were being referred to by officials in the released documents.


Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin also challenged Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the issue.

Mr Martin said it is important the Government gets to the bottom of the Siteserv deal through an inquiry.

Mr Kenny said he was reluctant to comment on the transactions raised because he did have the full information.

A spokesman for Siteserv Holdings Ltd said it is not appropriate to comment as this is a matter for the IBRC.

Irish Independent

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