Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has again called on the Taoiseach to instigate an independent inquiry into the issues surrounding the sale of Siteserv by State owned bank IBRC.
For the second day in the row, Deputy Martin used Leaders’ Questions in Dáil Éíreann to seek answers to basic questions around the controversial sale and get an agreement from the Taoiseach about the need for an independent inquiry. For the second day in a row, the Taoiseach avoided answering these questions.
Deputy Martin commented, “Very serious and troubling questions arise from the details emerging about this deal from various Freedom of Information documents. As each week passes, concerns about how this deal was conducted and the implications for the taxpayer grow.
“We know a number of things. We know that officials at the Department of Finance were expressing concern about how IBRC had allowed Siteserv to control the sales process, rather than taking direct control of it. We know that there were serious concerns about the exclusion of trade buyers from the process. We know that shareholders in a bankrupt company were inexplicably given a €5 million sweetener for the sale of that company. And we know that there are question marks around potential conflicts of interest on the part of the key advisers on the deal.
“What we do not know and what I am trying to find out, is why internal demands for an investigation were refused and why the Taoiseach continues to refuse to commit to an independent inquiry to get to the bottom of these questions.
“Whether the Taoiseach likes it or not, there is considerable and growing public disquiet about the circumstances of this case. Citizens watch these deals being made, but see no such flexibility when it comes to their own or their neighbours’ interaction with banks.
“In that context, questions around the probity and process of the sale need to be taken seriously and answered in a full and frank way. The Taoiseach’s refusal to do this will only add to public disquiet and is not sustainable.”