Taoiseach: 'Government committed to deal with IBRC Inquiry controversy transparently'
The Taoiseach said the government is “absolutely committed in the strongest possible way” to see that the controversy over the IBRC Inquiry is dealt with “clearly, transparently and in an absolutely accountable fashion.”
The coalition is now considering whether to introduce emergency legislation after Judge Brian Cregan informed the Taoiseach last week that he could not proceed with his probe because of issues surrounding confidentiality and legal privilege.
The commission of investigation, which was established in June, is examining the sale of loans by the IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, where there was a loss of at least €10 million to the taxpayer.
Mr Kenny also expressed confidence in the Attorney General Máire Whelan, who is expected to brief the Cabinet on options open to the government, which may include the introduction of legislation, stating he has “full confidence in the Attorney General”.
He also confirmed that the first communication that a legal obstacle had halted the Inquiry has reached officials in his Department last Thursday when they were contacted by the commission’s office, and he received formal notice from Judge Cregan on Friday.
“This was made known at the instigation of the judge to the officials in my Department on Thursday, and obviously I asked for a letter in regard to that, and that letter was received by me because the Department of the Taoiseach is the receiving Department for it. I sent that to the Attorney General and asked her to consider what options are open to government,” he said.
Mr Kenny did not put a deadline on when a decision will be made on how to overcome the legal obstacles, insisting it would be dealt with in “the shortest possible time”.
Amid mounting criticism of the coalition’s handling of the IBRC Inquiry, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that the latest developments “points to a major failure somewhere between the Cabinet and the Attorney General”.
The Taoiseach was speaking today after a 45-minute meeting with prime minister David Cameron at Downing Street, during which they discussed the North and the issue of ‘Brexit’. The British government will hold a referendum before the end of 2017 - possibly as early as next summer - on whether Britain should stay in or exit the EU.
Mr Kenny’s visit comes the day before the prime minister is due to give a keynote address on EU reform and the upcoming referendum, also also present his list of demands for reform to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk.
Earlier at a business conference in central London, the Taoiseach told the audience of 700 business leaders that a ‘Brexit’ - Britain leaving the EU - “is an outcome that the Irish Government does not want to see materialise at all” and that his administration would be “sympathetic and supportive” of proposals put forward by prime minister David Cameron for reform of EU institutions.
Also speaking as the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) conference, Mr Cameron said, “The things I want fixed are big and important changes - if I can achieve them, you will see me campaigning vigorously to stay in a reformed Europe; if I can’t achieve them, I rule nothing out.”
During his visit to London, the Taoiseach also announced Ireland’s first-ever participation in the annual Lord Mayor’s Show which celebrates its 800th anniversary next month.
The Taoiseach later travels to Belfast for a meeting with the First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.