Business Irish

Wednesday 21 November 2018

More IBRC revelations on the way, TDs claim

Pearse Doherty speaking at Leinster House yesterday
Pearse Doherty speaking at Leinster House yesterday

Daniel McConnell and Lise Hand

Independent TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty have obtained details of more large IBRC account holders and suggest they are likely to reveal them.

And Taoiseach Enda Kenny has rejected criticism that he and Fine Gael have close ties to businessman Denis O'Brien.

"I have no dealings with Denis O'Brien at all," he said. "What's happened in the past is in the past. So whether it's Denis O'Brien or anybody else, the terms of reference are there for the Commission of Investigation and I expect they'll do their job and do it fully, completely, thoroughly and very adequately."

Mr Doherty said he will consider releasing further information about large IBRC debtors in due course if he deems it to be in the public interest.

Ms Murphy too said she has details of IBRC accounts and account holders who may have received significant debt write-downs.

They spoke as Finance Minister Michael Noonan refused to accept demands from them to widen the terms of reference of the new Commission of Investigation into IBRC and the sale of Siteserv.

Their comments come after weekend reports that a combined total of between €1bn and €1.2bn was written off for 40 customers - both businesses and individuals.

Mr Doherty said what he placed on the record of the Dáil is just a portion of what is contained in documents. "There is other information, some very sensitive information in relation to business dealings, there is other information in terms of other individuals. If there needed to be more information put into the public domain to convince the Government that the terms of reference need to be extended, then that is something I am willing to do," he said.

Mr Doherty said he had passed the documents in his possession to the Taoiseach for the purpose of giving them to the Commission as it begins its work.

Ms Murphy said: "I have information about other accounts as well."

Mr Noonan insisted all of the concerns raised by Mr Doherty into the sale of Siteserv will be addressed by the Commission of Investigation.

Mr Noonan also rejected calls from Mr Doherty that the terms of reference be expanded.

He said the terms do not need to be expanded as Mr Doherty's claims will be covered under the existing terms.

"The concerns raised by Deputy Doherty are covered by the current terms of reference - the Commission shall investigate all transactions, activities and management decisions during the relevant period which are identified by the Commission as giving rise or likely to give rise to potential public concern," he said.

The Dáil voted by a margin of 119-20 to establish the Commission of Investigation into IBRC.

Mr Noonan said retired High Court Judge Daniel O'Keeffe will head up the new Commission of Investigation.

In his closing address, Mr Noonan commended Mr Doherty for handing over the documents. He said he maintained the view the December 31 deadline is appropriate, bearing in mind the different nature of the review and its extended scope.

Mr Noonan said that under the terms of reference, the Commission will have the power to investigate any transaction that gives rise or is likely to give rise to potential public concerns, regardless of the level of loss.

Separately, Department of Finance officials are to appear before the Dáil Public Accounts Committee to correct the record on IBRC information.

Irish Independent

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