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Revealed: How Michael Noonan's confidence in IBRC bosses was 'wearing quite thin'

Newly-released documents show major tensions between the former Anglo Irish Bank and the Department of Finance.

MICHAEL NOONAN WAS so concerned about the “constant stream of issues” arising at IBRC that he was not confident about accounting for the bank’s actions in the Dáil.

Newly-released documents from the Department of Finance show that the Noonan’s confidence in the now-liquidated bank was “wearing quite thin” in the summer of 2012.

A total of 13 documents have been released by the Department this morning and their details have already been published in the Irish Times.

They show considerable tension between the bank and the department and how Noonan was “very uneasy” about the relationship.

Noonan’s concerns are contained in minutes of a meeting between the Minister, his officials and senior management at the now-liquidated IBRC, including chair Alan Dukes and CEO Mike Aynsley, on 25 July 2012.

They record how the Minister’s confidence in IBRC was “wearing quite thin”.

minister wearing quite thin A portion of the minutes of the meeting

Though there are redactions throughout the documents released this morning, the use of black ink is not as heavy as it is in the documents that were released under FOI to independent TD Catherine Murphy earlier this week.

You can access the documents in full here > 

Tensions between the bank and IBRC are also apparent in a briefing note for Finance’s second secretary general, Ann Nolan, ahead of a meeting with the bank on 31 May 2012.

The appointment of the bank’s chief financial officer is described as being:

typical of the type of example of behaviour that undermines the trust between the Department and the Bank.

The appointment was made without Noonan’s approval and, the note later states:

represented a high degree of disregard for the Minister’s role and function – at worst an attempt by the bank to thwart the Minister’s need to exert a degree of oversight of the bank.

cfo appt

The same briefing note also problems with recruitment generally and says:

“There appears to be disregard for the Minister’s requirement to exert downward pressure on remuneration”.

Later, the extensive note says “the bank has a serious image problem” which has not been helped by media attention on issues like the sale of Siterserv, the appointment of US firm Blackstone to sell IBRC assets without proper procedures, and the bank’s relationship with developer Paddy McKillen.

reputation problems

The documents also record how the Department questioned the way IBRC handled big borrowers like McKillen.

They note that Aynsley was communicating with McKillen via text and that this appeared to be “inappropriate”. Aynsley insisted that communications with major borrowers “must be close but they are not inappropriate”.

Other issues concerning the Department included the sale of a high profile residential block in New York, the Arthrop Building. Anglo had funded the €273 million purchase and renovation of the building.

However, a senior official in the bank raised concerns about the valuation process and provisioning made by IBRC.

You can access the documents in full here > 

Latest: Denis O’Brien says he was merely the buyer in the Siteserv sale

Here are the HEAVILY redacted documents that raise questions about IBRC’s sale of Siteserv

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