The government must immediately clarify the status of the Commission of Investigation into certain transactions at IBRC following today’s report in the Sunday Business Post that the inquiry is ‘on the verge of collapse’ because of serious legal difficulties.
The newspaper reports this morning that Judge Brian Cregan has told the government that he had been given insufficient powers to produce a report of any substance into IBRC.
Deputy McGrath commented, “It is deeply worrying that, five months after the Oireachtas established a Commission of Investigation into certain matters at IBRC and just seven weeks before the deadline for the final report, we learn through the media that the probe is on the brink of collapse. It would now appear that the ability of the Commission to access sensitive commercial documents from the IBRC Special Liquidator, KPMG, threatens to sink the inquiry.
“The government didn’t want to investigate anything at IBRC in the first place. Having been forced into action, they have since made a complete mess of the entire affair. They initially set up a flawed investigation process using KPMG, despite that firm having acted as advisers on the Siteserv deal. Having appointed a High Court judge in a supervisory role to attempt to deal with the obvious conflict of interest, the government was then forced into another u-turn establishing a full Commission of Investigation.
“The fact that an apparent lack of legal powers is now stifling the work of the Commission raises very serious questions. In particular, what legal advice did the government receive when setting up the Commission last June as to the adequacy of its powers to access commercial banking information? Why hasn’t the Taoiseach advised Dáil Éireann that a Commission set up by the House has run into such serious difficulty? What plans does the government now have to ensure the Inquiry can access the required information and complete its work? Is all hope of a final report before the general election lost?
“The government has completely botched its handling of the controversies surrounding IBRC. We now discover that the statutory Commission of Investigation set up to get to the bottom of these issues appears to be on the road to nowhere. You would have to wonder whether the government ever believed that a Commission would be able to answer the legitimate questions that have been raised about some transactions at IBRC. A full statement from government clarifying the situation is now urgently required.”