IBRC inquiry may extend into 2016, indicates Kenny

Mr Justice Daniel O’Keeffe to oversee the Commission of Investigation

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said: “The wider you make the terms of reference (of the IBRC inquiry)  the more work there is to be done and it’s not going to be easy work.”  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said: “The wider you make the terms of reference (of the IBRC inquiry) the more work there is to be done and it’s not going to be easy work.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has indicated that the Commission of Investigation into the Irish Banking Resolution Corporation (IBRC) may extend beyond December.

Earlier it was confirmed that allegations made by Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty in the Dáil will be included in the inquiry’s terms of reference.

It has been confirmed that Mr Justice Daniel O’Keeffe will oversee the Commission of Investigation.

Asked if the Commission’s work would still be completed by December in light of the additional information that will be included, the Taoiseach said: “It’s a six-month remit here...Who knows what may arise in terms of other court cases, I can’t speak for that, so the remit it six months and if it can’t be delivered in six months then I expect the sole member will produce a report of the work that has been done to date at that point.”

He continued: “The wider you make the terms of reference the more work there is to be done and it’s not going to be easy work.”

However, he added that the Government had committed to adequately resourcing the Commission of Investigation and “providing the opportunity for whatever expertise is required by the Commission for Investigation to be made available to them.”

This was “all in the interests of finding out the answers to the questions that are being raised and to allay public concerns,” he said.

Speaking as he arrived at an EU-Latin America summit in Brussels, the Taoiseach did not rule out further information being included in the inquiry.

“There is a need here to be cognisant that if other issues arise as time goes on, that the sole member considers should be examined then I’m sure that can also apply, because it is about dealing with all of these matters in a way that clarity and accountability is there for everybody to see.”

“The intention here from the very beginning was that you put in place a process that all the issues dealing with the IBRC transactions, assertions, allegations, can all be dealt with in a way that keeps the public confidence.”

Mr Kenny confirmed his department had received documentation relating to Mr Doherty’s claims in the Dáil on Tuesday and that these would be covered by the terms of the inquiry.

“I can confirm that the documentation Deputy Doherty referred to was handed in at the gate yesterday and was given to my office. I had that documentation examined by the Attorney General this morning, and she confirmed that within the terms of reference that documentation is eligible to be considered by the Commission of Investigation.”

Asked if Fine Gael was too close to businessman Denis O’Brien, Mr Kenny said: “What happened in the past is in the past. I’m happy to lead a government and to set out the Commission of Investigation.

“Whether it is Denis O’ Brien or anyone else, the terms of reference are there for the Commission of Investigation and I expect that they will do their job and do it fully, completely, thoroughly, adequately and very professionally.”

As Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrived in Brussels to face fellow EU leaders, the Taoiseach also warned that “time was running out” for Greece. “Since the new Government was elected in Greece, at every European Council meeting there have been offers of support, encouragement and assistance from leaders around the table but time is running out here.”

He said that while that support and encouragement “still remains,” it was up to politicians in Greece to be “creative in the way they deal with the situation.

“Obviously this can’t continue indefinitely... I know that there have been meetings arranged between the prime minister and some of the principles of Europe and I do hope that a focus can be brought about on this and that a decision is made that will allow Greece to continue to play their part as a serious member of the euro zone.”

About the judge

Mr Justice O’Keeffe, who will oversee the inquiry, is a retired High Court Judge.

He was also appointed Chairperson of the Standards in Public Office Commission on 11 February 2014.

He was called to the Bar in 1964 having graduated from University College Dublin and the Kings Inns.

He practiced at the Bar until his appointment to the High Court in 2008.