Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Finance Michael McGrath TD has stated that the interim report of the Cregan Commission looking at the IBRC transactions confirms that its work is effectively stalled and the public are as far away as ever from getting answers to key issues of public concern.
On the 11th September 2015, the Special Liquidator swore an affidavit asserting confidentiality and legal advice privilege over all the information and documents furnished to the Commission. This means that the Commission cannot undertake its primary function which is to examine transactions at IBRC where large write offs took place.
Deputy McGrath commented, “When the story of difficulties in the work of the Commission first came into the public domain two weeks ago, it was suggested that emergency legislation would be brought forward “within days” to allow disclosure of documents to be compelled in the public interest.
“The report states in stark terms that “the Commission is unable to proceed with its investigation without legislative change.” Fianna Fáil will work constructively with others in the Oireachtas to put a sound legal basis in place which would allow the Commission to proceed with its work.
“Once the necessary legislation is in place, it is my view that the Commission should prioritise the completion of a report on the Siteserv transaction given that this transaction was the catalyst for the establishment of the Commission in the first place. This may require a change to the terms of reference of the Commission.
“It is now clear that the government have made a shambles of the process of investigating legitimate concerns regarding the loss incurred by the State on the Siteserv sale and other IBRC transactions. It 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, it was forced to do another U-turn and eventually established a full Commission of Investigation. Now it appears that the Commission itself is going nowhere.
“The interim report from Judge Cregan raises extremely serious questions about the legal advice provided to the Government in setting up this Commission of Investigation in the first place. It is difficult to understand how the Government was not advised of the serious confidentiality and privilege issues that arose in the examination of individual banking transactions.
“The government cannot be allowed to run down the clock and push this issue out until after the general election. The ball is now very much in the Government’s court. They must react comprehensively to the issues as laid out by Judge Cregan. The public desire for answers on these key questions will not disappear as some may hope,” concluded Deputy McGrath.