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Damning criticism: Siteserv inquiry 'lacks powers' needed to investigate controversial sales

Emergency measures are being considered to keep the inquiry on track.

IBRC's sale of Siteserv to businessman Denis O'Brien is one of the transactions being probed by the inquiry.
IBRC's sale of Siteserv to businessman Denis O'Brien is one of the transactions being probed by the inquiry.
Image: Mark Lennihan/AP/Press Association Images

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said that emergency measures are being considered to ensure the inquiry into the activities of the former Anglo Irish Bank can be completed.

The announcement comes after a report in today’s Sunday Business Post revealed that the head of the state’s commission of investigation, Judge Brian Cregan, had drawn up a damning report on the probe.

Cregan is understood to have told the government that the commission has not been given sufficient powers to look into certain transactions at IBRC.

A statement issued by the government press office on foot of the report confirmed that the commission had determined that it was “not in a position to proceed with its investigation into any of the relevant ‘write-off’ transactions”.

The statement said Kenny has requested urgent advice from Attorney General Máire Whelan on the implications of the determination, and the legal options now available to ensure the investigation can be finished in “an effective and timely manner”.

“The government believes that it is essential that a full and independent investigation into these transactions is completed as quickly as possible,” the statement added.

Allegations

In an interview on RTÉ’s This Week programme Catherine Murphy TD, who led calls to establish the inquiry, said the government needed to clarify why it had not anticipated the kind of difficulties raised in Cregan’s report.

What advice did they get from the attorney general when they were setting the commission up? Was this particular issue explored?

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The commission of investigation was established in June to probe IBRC sales where there was a loss of at least €10 million to the taxpayer.

The inquiry was proposed on the back of allegations about the 2012 sale of Siteserv to businessman Denis O’Brien for €45 million.

It is due to report on transactions between 21 January 2009 to 7 February 2013, when the bank was wound down, before the end of the year.

Read: After several rows, Sinn Féin votes against IBRC inquiry – but it’s still happening

Read: Dáil hears new claims about Denis O’Brien’s dealings with IBRC

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Catherine Healy

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