IBRC commission of investigation ‘absolutely necessary’ - Donohoe
‘Number of concerns’ of conflict of interest over previous inquiry, says Minister
Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said: “These matters will be dealt with in a non-political and objective manner by a respected and impartial figure... I believe this is an absolutely necessary response by the Government to this issue... The operation of IBRC - and questions that have been posed in relation to it - do merit a comprehensive response.” File photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe has said it was “absolutely necessary” that a commission of investigation be set up in light of the new allegations that have emerged in relation to IBRC in the past week.
The Government announced on Wednesday that the inquiry into IBRC has been upgraded to a commission of investigation, headed by a High Court judge.
“The Government has responded to all the various matters that have been raised in relation to IBRC, but what we fully accept now is that the new allegations and concerns have heightened the level of public concern in relation to the operation of IBRC for a period of time,” Mr Donohoe told reporters on Thursday.
“In order for these matters to be comprehensively dealt with, it’s very necessary this be done in an independent and impartial manner. That’s what this commission of investigation will allow to be done.
“These matters will be dealt with in a non-political and objective manner by a respected and impartial figure... I believe this is an absolutely necessary response by the Government to this issue... The operation of IBRC - and questions that have been posed in relation to it - do merit a comprehensive response.”
Asked whether the previous inquiry, which has been criticised because of the involvement of auditing firm KPMG, was not impartial, Mr Donohoe said there were “a number of concerns” in relation to potential conflicts of interest.
“The Government has acknowledged that new allegations and concerns have been brought into the public arena and brought into the Oireachtas, and, in order for them to be comprehensively dealt with, a new mode of investigation is needed,” he said.
“There are a number of allegations that have been raised. There are now a number of concerns in relation to potential conflicts of interests.
“If these are dealt with through the Oireachtas or privately by the Government, I think understandable questions would then be raised in relation to impartiality and rigour.”
In terms of whether the inquiry will be concluded before the next general election, Mr Donohoe said: “That’s entirely a matter for them and it would be absolutely inappropriate for Government to look to exert any influence in relation to that,” he added.