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Monday 11 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Creighton and Kenny pictured in 2013
Siteserv controversy

This former minister wants Enda to tell Denis O'Brien to butt out of politics

“I think it’s chilling that the Taoiseach has nothing to say on this, frankly.”

LUCINDA CREIGHTON HAS called on Enda Kenny to make a statement on Denis O’Brien’s attempt to have the Dáil record corrected.

Siteserv, owned by O’Brien’s Millington, has written to Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett asking for comments made by independent TD Catherine Murphy about its sale to be amended.

The company said Murphy abused her privilege by making false statements during Dáil debates on the issue – a claim denied by the deputy.

Creighton raised the issue during the Order of Business in the Dail today. The Taoiseach did not respond at the time, and the Ceann Comhairle told her it was an issue that should be dealt with via the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

The Renua Ireland leader, and former Fine Gael junior minister, later told reporters O’Brien’s intervention is “very worrying”.

“My deep concern and the concern of Renua Ireland is the fact that the Taoiseach hasn’t commented on the demand of both Siteserv and Denis O’Brien to alter the Dáil record. I consider it to be a very worrying intervention in terms of free speech, in terms of our democracy.

I don’t believe that corporate interests should be enabled to strike down or amend the record of the Dáil and I think that the leader of the government needs to make a statement on this. In fact, I believe all party leaders should be very clear and, in fact, should come together in rejecting this demand.

“I offered the Taoiseach the opportunity today to put his views clearly on the record. He opted not to do so. I’ll be raising it again. Obviously my opportunities to raise these issues are limited but I will be exhausting all avenues because I think it’s really important that the Taoiseach defends the integrity of our parliament and the integrity of all 166 TDs, whether they’re government or opposition.”

I think it’s chilling that the Taoiseach has nothing to say on this, frankly.

Creighton said the government has been “beset by speculation and rumours” in relation to Siterserv over the past 12 months, describing it as “a really, really serious issue”.

She said Kenny “hasn’t delivered” on the democratic revolution he promised four years ago, adding he “needs to stand up and be counted”.

The Taoiseach’s Department had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

cm-redacted Murphy with heavily-redacted FOI documents about Siteserv

Siteserv was sold to Millington by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank) in 2012 for €45 million.

IBRC had given Siteserv a loan of €150 million, meaning the bank wrote off €105 million and the State got back less than €50 million. At the same time, shareholders were paid €5 million.

Murphy has been looking into the issue for more than a year.

In April Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced that KPMG would carry out a review of all IBRC transactions that resulted in a loss of over €10 million to taxpayers, including the sale of Siteserv.

As the officials in question – Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson – are also the IBRC special liquidators, retired High Court judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill has been appointed to oversee any potential conflicts of interest.

What exactly is Siteserv – and why is everyone talking about it?

Murphy calls on KPMG to remove itself from Siteserv probe

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