Fianna Fáil has further called on Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to make an urgent statement following accusations that he was behind attempts to sell an IBRC asset at a knock-down price.

The serious allegation was first brought to light by former IBRC Chief Mike Aynsely at the banking inquiry earlier this week. According to a number of reports in the media today Minister Noonan attempted to interfere through his officials in the sale of an IBRC asset involving businessman Denis O’Brien.

Senator O’Brien commented, “The latest revelation that Minister Noonan attempted to interfere through his officials in the sale of an IBRC asset involving businessman Denis O’Brien is truly extraordinary.

“Fianna Fáil called on Minister Noonan to make an urgent statement when these allegations first came to light following comments made by Mike Aynsely at the Banking Inquiry. Unfortunately Minister Noonan and the Government have remained silent ever since.

“It is unacceptable for the Government to hide behind the summer recess in order to dodge answering urgent questions regarding the sale of IBRC assets. The allegations, which have been further substantiated in today’s papers, are truly extraordinary. Minister Noonan needs to make a statement urgently in order to clarify the background to his instruction.

“Minister Noonan, along with officials in the Department of Finance, have to date refused to comment on these allegations. Where is the accountability in Government? Minister Noonan must answer the following questions without any further delay:

– Was it made clear by a Department of Finance Official that the Minister would support the sale of an IBRC asset at €100m less than the top bid?

– What level of knowledge did the Minister have about these alleged representations?

– What level of political interference was there to encourage the fire sale of this asset?

– Were representations made to encourage quick sales through bilateral arrangements behind closed doors?

– Has there been political interference in the sale of any other similar assets?

“The public is concerned that Minister Noonan has failed to clarify these issues to date, and the latest media reports only adds to that concern. These allegations raise serious questions about political interference in the sale of such assets on behalf of the taxpayer. It is simply unacceptable for Minister Noonan to ignore these allegations in the false hope that it will drop off the agenda during the Dáil summer recess.”