Declare cost of IBRC inquiry before extra powers, urges Deasy
TD says revised assessment needed on inquiry that is estimated to take eight years
Fine Gael TD John Deasy: “When the High Court judge heading the commission of investigation refers to a potential waste of taxpayers’ money, the first step should be to conduct such an analysis and circulate the outcome to everyone involved.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Fine Gael TD John Deasy has said the estimated cost of the inquiry into transactions at the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) should be made public before any legislation giving it extra powers is passed.
He said it had been estimated it could take eight years to complete and a revised financial assessment was needed.
“When the High Court judge heading the commission of investigation refers to a potential waste of taxpayers’ money, the first step should be to conduct such an analysis and circulate the outcome to everyone involved,” he said.
Mr Deasy said the Public Accounts Committee had discussed the issue last week and had taken the view that the commission of investigation should not be open-ended.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Mr Deasy’s point was valid. He said the Cabinet would take the written responses from Opposition parties and groups and consider the matter at next Tuesday’s meeting.
Speaking later, Mr Deasy said the Mahon, Moriarty and beef tribunals had collectively cost about €250 million. “They made the Dublin legal profession a lot richer but did not constitute value for money for the taxpayer,” he added.
He said the Government, and future governments, needed to consider the cost to the taxpayer before caving into any future demands for commissions of investigations.
Mr Justice Cregan, who led the investigation, has said he does not have adequate powers to complete the task given to him by the Government and has also asked for more resources.
Mr Kenny told the Dáil Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was the first Opposition TD to reply to his letter seeking advice on how to proceed with the inquiry.
Mr Kenny said the Government would respond to Mr Justice Cregan, taking into account Mr Adams’s views and those of others. He said he hoped a structure could be put in place as quickly as possible.
“If it is necessary to have the support of the House for extra time, I am sure that is a matter that can be considered,” he added.
Mr Adams said one of the big omissions in the commission’s terms of reference related to the lack of clarity surrounding the definition of capital loss.
“We have this ridiculous situation where the capital loss is defined by the liquidators of the IBRC,” he added.
Mr Kenny said a commission of investigation, once approved by the Oireachtas, became the responsibility of the sole member appointed to conduct it. “They do so in an entirely independent manner,” he added.
He said Mr Justice Cregan had done considerable work, identified what he considered to be obstacles, difficulties and challenges and written an interim report that was forwarded to Oireachtas members.