Fianna Fáil may complain to ethics watchdog over John Perry’s deal with bank

Dara Calleary has tabled parliamentary questions on Minister of State’s debt restructuring deal to Enda Kenny and Richard Bruton

Minister of State for Small Business John  Perry was backed in his position by Taoiseach Enda Kenny after  reaching agreement with Danske Bank to restructure a €2.47 million debt. Photograph: James Connolly/PicSell

Minister of State for Small Business John Perry was backed in his position by Taoiseach Enda Kenny after reaching agreement with Danske Bank to restructure a €2.47 million debt. Photograph: James Connolly/PicSell

Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 01:05


Fianna Fáil is considering a complaint to the political ethics watchdog over the financial affairs of Minister of State for Small Business John Perry.

The party’s enterprise spokesman, Dara Calleary, has tabled parliamentary questions on Mr Perry’s debt restructuring deal to Taoiseach Enda Kenny and to Richard Bruton, the senior Minister in Mr Perry’s department.

The question to Mr Kenny centres on whether Mr Perry complied with the ministerial code of conduct when dealing with his debt troubles with Danske Bank.

Mr Calleary said Fianna Fáil may yet bring the matter to the Standards in Public Office Commission but said it would examine the Taoiseach’s response first.

“We certainly haven’t ruled that out,” he said of a possible complaint to the commission, which oversees compliance with the code of conduct for office holders.

Mr Kenny backed Mr Perry in his ministerial position after he reached agreement with Danske to restructure a €2.47 million debt.

Mr Calleary’s parliamentary question is “to ask the Taoiseach if he is satisfied that no conflict of interest as defined in the code of conduct for office holders arises in the case of Minister John Perry TD”.

The question goes on to ask whether Mr Kenny is satisfied “that no potential conflict of interest is likely to arise”.

If the Taoiseach is satisfied, he is further asked to set out “on what basis has he reached that conclusion and whether or not he has had sight of or access to arrangements put in place by Minister Perry with any financial institution in this State or with the Revenue Commissioners”.

The Taoiseach’s spokesman said Mr Kenny would respond in due course to the parliamentary question.

Court records show that Mr Perry used his formal ministerial title in correspondence with Danske on his private difficulties.

Although Mr Perry is also known to have engaged in a prolonged dialogue with Danske, the code of conduct says an office holder “should not carry on a professional practice while in office”.

Mr Calleary asked Mr Bruton whether he had had any discussions with Mr Perry “in relation to statements made by Danske Bank in the High Court that the minister used his ministerial title in correspondence with the bank about personal financial issues”.

He went on to question whether Mr Bruton “feels that these statements require further investigation to ascertain if there has been a breach of the code of conduct for office holders.”