Thursday 23 November 2017

Inquiry terms of reference must be strengthened, say Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin

Government say terms are strong enough

Denis O'Brien
Denis O'Brien
John Downing

John Downing

Any “word-of-mouth arrangements” about businessman Denis O’Brien’s loans from IBRC bank will be covered by the Commission of Inquiry, the Government has insisted.

Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin told the Dail there was too much “tortuous language” in the draft terms of reference which will govern the inquiry into how the state bank dealt with up to 40 major borrowers.

Mr Martin said the issue was too important to have any lingering doubt about what was covered and what was excluded from the inquiry. He said the terms referred to “contracts” and there was some doubt about whether this totally included verbal deals.

Replying for the Government, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the questions raised by Mr Martin were the same concerns raised by Sinn Féin finance spokesman,  Pearse Doherty.

“The issues raised by Deputy Doherty and others are written in to the terms of reference. They will be covered and the Judge will have the power to investigate,” Mr Burton said. He added that this was the legal advice also given the Government.

Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, said the terms of reference should be changed to make this clear. He said there had been too much doubt surrounding the Government’s handling of all these issues to date.

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