IBRC investigation: two days set aside for Dáil debate

Government agrees to discussion amid increasing pressure to wider terms of inquiry

The Government has agreed to allow two days in the Dáil next week for a debate on the terms of the commission of investigation into the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

In the wake of pressure from the Opposition, Government chief whip Paul Kehoe agreed to set aside at least 10 hours for debate on the inquiry into the controversial sale of Siteserv to a company controlled by businessman Denis O'Brien.

It will investigate if there were cases where deals on preferential interest rates were done with large IBRC borrowers.

The debate will begin at 5pm on Tuesday, after the inquiry’s final terms of reference are published and continue until midnight. It will resume on Wednesday morning if necessary.



Before the debate, Minister for Finance

Michael Noonan

will meet, separately, delegations from

Fianna Fáil

, Sinn Féin and the technical group – represented by Independent TD

Catherine Murphy

– on Monday evening to discuss their response to the draft terms.

All three political groupings have indicated they want them widened to include corporate governance, the relationship between the Department of Finance and the IBRC, and large loans of lesser amounts than the multimillion-euro sums in the terms of reference.

It is also understood Attorney General Máire Whelan has been compiling a list of judges and former judges who may be able to chair the commission.

Retired High Court judge Iarfhlaith O'Neill had agreed to act in the inquiry being conducted by the special liquidators but Government sources would not be drawn on the possibility of him chairing the commission.

Board meeting

Meanwhile, former IBRC chairman

Alan Dukes

has said the head of asset management at the bank played no part in the decision-making process on the sale of Siteserv, despite his presence at the board meeting which approved the deal.

Mr Dukes said Richard Woodhouse, who managed Mr O'Brien's dealings with IBRC, attended the board meeting on March 15th, 2012 at which the sale of Siteserv was agreed but was excluded from the sale process at all stages, as the principal bidder was a company associated with Mr O'Brien. Several opposition politicians said there were inconsistencies between the minutes and what Mr Dukes previously stated.

The IBRC special liquidators last night said they may make a complaint to the Garda over the leaking of information. In a statement, they said they were following a “definite line of inquiry concerning the removal of documents and the leaking of information about a specific customer account”.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times