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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Notes on a scandal

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

The documents were released to independent TD Catherine Murphy under Freedom of Information.

HEAVILY REDACTED DOCUMENTS, released under FOI, highlight senior government officials’ concerns about a number of “poorly executed” large transactions made by IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank.

The documents are largely blacked out, but several key portions show Department of Finance officials’ concerns about transactions, including the 2012 sale of Siteserv to the Denis O’Brien-owned company Millington for €45 million.

The documents were released under Freedom of Information to the independent TD Catherine Murphy who has been pursuing the matter for some time.

The FOI release does not include a schedule of all records related to the matter, which is normally the case when documents are released. It also does not give any explicit reason for the documents being largely redacted. We understand that Murphy was told the redcations were for reasons of commercial sensitivity.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has this afternoon said there will be a further FOI release tomorrow.

You can view the 46-page document here >

Here are a couple of key portions…

In this July 2012 briefing note to senior Department of Finance officials, including then-secretary general John Moran, concerns are expressed about the execution of some transactions and the performance of then-IBRC chief executive Mike Aynsley.

“The performance of management in executing these transactions raises the question of the effectiveness of the CEO,” the note states.


The same note also outlines a proposed approach for the meeting with IBRC officials and says the bank’s chairman Alan Dukes should commission a ‘full independent review’ into the Siteserv transaction.

It states that the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is “very concerned” about how a large number of transactions have been handled.

As a result, the note says, the Department has questioned the effectiveness of the CEO and the management team:


In a separate briefing note, prepared for Noonan ahead of his meeting with the IBRC chief executive, the concerns about the Siteserv transaction are outlined including

  1. Allowing the sale to be run by Siteserv advisors (Davy);
  2. The decision to exclude trade buyers from the process;
  3. The timing of the exclusivity bid when other bids were outstanding;
  4. The payment of €5 million to existing shareholders.


Murphy has said the heavily-redacted files contradict responses to parliamentary questions she received from Finance Minister Michael Noonan and raise questions about the eventual liquidation of IBRC as part of the promissory note arrangement in 2013.

The former chairman of Alan Dukes, has rejected any suggestions of impropriety in the sale of SiteServ. Noonan has said he is satisfied he took sufficient action on the issue.

Read: Michael Noonan satisfied he took sufficient action in IBRC sale of Siteserv

Background: The curious case of an ‘obsessive’ TD, the state losing millions, and a Denis O’Brien company

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