Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has questioned a Department of Finance decision to refuse to release a series of documentation, which was sent to businessman Denis O’Brien, after he wrote to officials back in June. The letters were requested under Freedom of Information legislation but the Department has refused to release them.
Deputy Martin commented, “It is inconceivable that an FOI request would not be released given the possible importance of the subject matter and the current stagnation of the Cregan inquiry. This investigation has been marred by delays, as a result of the Government’s reluctance to set up an inquiry in the first instance, and by the lack of legal powers on privacy which has been supressing any progress. More than five months after it was set up there has been very little progress.
“The Government’s handling of this investigation has been deplorable. After a series of delays, it has now become clear that there will be no further progress made until legislation is introduced and the government has decided not to do this until after the election. This latest development adds further fuel to the fire. It is perfectly reasonable to expect that information requested through FOI legislation be released. The fact that is hasn’t has raised serious questions. It is obvious that the Government didn’t want any investigation into IBRC in the first place. It set up a flawed inquiry and now it’s refusing to release possibly relevant information. What is it hiding?
“There are key issues of public concern relating to IBRC transactions that the Government is simply refusing to address. This is unacceptable. This information should be released and the Government should publish the Heads of the Bill to change the terms of reference of the Cregan Commission without delay.”