Friday 15 December 2017

Banking inquiry to broaden its scope

Finance Minister Michael Noonan
Finance Minister Michael Noonan

THE Government has ceded ground on the upcoming IBRC inquiry and is now prepared to allow a senior judge to examine the strained relationship between the toxic bank and the Department of Finance.

Minister Michael Noonan is  expected to widen the terms of reference of the inquiry to ensure certain transactions

executed after IBRC’s liquidation in 2013 can be probed.

The inquiry is due to dominate today’s cabinet meeting as ministers become increasingly concerned that the issue is damaging public confidence.

But there will be no budging on the December deadline for the report into the way IBRC dealt with loans to up to 40 businessmen, including Denis O’Brien.

The Government is also standing by its claims that the sale of Siteserv should be subject to an interim report.

Nonetheless, Mr Noonan ceded ground in a number of areas relating to the inquiry following meetings with opposition leaders last night.

The minister said he would examine broadening the scope of the inquiry to deal with the relationship between the former Anglo Irish Bank and the department.

Sources emphasised, however, that this would focus on the level of oversight from the department in relation to certain transactions.

“It will not be extended to deal with issues of personalities,” said a government source.

The Dail will this evening debate the terms of reference with provision in place for a further debate tomorrow.

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