herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Lucinda Creighton: IBRC probe 'will last longer than this Government'

Lucinda Creighton, leader of Renua
Lucinda Creighton, leader of Renua

The commission of investigation announced by Finance Minister Michael Noonan into the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation may stretch beyond the life of the Government, Renua leader Lucinda Creighton has claimed.

Speaking the day after Mr Noonan bowed to pressure to conduct an inquiry into allegations of inadequate corporate governance at the former Anglo Irish Bank, and ditch a review of transactions using KPMG liquidators which was announced last month, Ms Creighton said she was concerned about the timeframe of the inquiry.

accountability

Although she welcomed the move by Mr Noonan, she said the Fennelly Commission inquiring into events that led to the resignation of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has been going on for 14 months.

"These types of inquiries shut down debate and discussion about really important issues and we have seen the Taoiseach refuse to answer any questions about the circumstances of the resignation or or departure of the Garda Commissioner for 14 months now," said Ms Creighton.

"(There are) no questions being answered in the Dail, no accountability, and it's just rumbling on and on," she said.

Ms Creighton said the fear is that the inquiry into IBRC, which is set to take a minimum of seven months, "will probably bring this Government up to and beyond the next general election".

"Even if the initial report is concluded by then, the likelihood is the Government would not publish it by the end of December or anything close to it," she added.

"It is a constant theme in Irish politics and Irish public life that these inquiries go on and on and on," she said.

"If you look at the investigation into Lehman Brothers in the States - a bank with assets of over $630bn - a full inquiry was conducted into that, a 2,200 page report, within less than a year, conducted by an attorney," she said.

prosecutions

"If we can see such thorough investigations leading to prosecutions in the United States into such a massive global bank then why is that a relatively tiny bank such as IBRC cannot be investigated in a matter of weeks?" Ms Creighton said.

Asked if the new commission should be able to access confidential banking arrangements of account holders, Ms Creighton said she thinks it is essential that those statements and details are available to the inquiry.

"Certainly, looking at the terms of reference, it would appear to include the capacity to investigate that sort of information, but again when it comes to the final report there will be inevitable legal disputes," she said.

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