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Enda could be shaking hands and kissing babies, but instead we're all talking about Siteserv again

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

Siteserv, Denis O’Brien and the Attorney General Máire Whelan.

28/2/2007 Enda Kenny

The inquiry expected to shine some light on the sale of loans by the IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, could be on the verge of collapse.

The commission was established in June in order to examine the sale of loans by the IBRC where there was a loss of at least €10 million to the taxpayer.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said he doesn’t know how long the Anglo loans/Siteserv inquiry will be delayed after it emerged Judge Brian Cregan, chair of the investigation, said he does not have the powers to proceed with his work.

Today the cabinet will examine options to increase the judge’s powers, which could involve the introduction of emergency legislation.

The Attorney General, Máire Whelan, will brief the cabinet on legal concerns that could hold back the Commission of Inquiry from carrying out its work on IBRC transactions, including the sale of SiteServ.

The inquiry hit a stumbling block last Friday when the judge informed the Taoiseach that he could not proceed with his probe due to issues surrounding confidentiality and legal privilege.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, former Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) chairman Alan Dukes said it is disappointing things have arrived at this point.

Dukes said the institution made one simple request for full document access, which he said it doesn’t have. He said it appears it falls inside the circle of confidentiality, which is one of the reasons cited by the judge for the inquiry stalling.

The former chairman said the directors and senior management are not putting problems in the way of the inquiry, and would welcome the opportunity to vindicate their position. 

He questioned the suitability of the inquiry structure to deal with issues relating to banks. He said he can’t see any “magic bullet” that will solve the problem.

However, speaking today Minister for Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said he wants to hear the advice from Attorney General and said the government “will find a solution”.

Yesterday, it was reported in the Irish Independent that some Fine Gael backbenchers were disappointed that an early election was not called. It seems instead of knocking on doors and drumming up support, the party has to deal with the Siteserv controversy, yet again.

The agenda 

  • The cabinet will meet to discuss the issues of the day at 10.30am.
  • Leaders Questions will be held at 3.15pm 
  • News of measures to deal with housing supply, rents and landlords are expected to be agreed by ministers today.
  • The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald will bring the new International Protection bill to cabinet today. It is expected to speed up how the authorities carry out assessments of asylum seekers.
  • Minister Fitzgerald will also sign the commencement order for the Marriage Act 2015 which will enable same-sex couples to marry in Ireland.
  • The Seanad will be discussing the long awaited Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill at 4.45pm.

Inside Leinster House 

Template statements with ready-made quotes are regularly given to Fine Gael councillors and election candidates instructing them to say the exact same thing.

The latest template, seen by TheJournal.ie, concerns An Garda Síochána’s plan to crackdown on burglaries – Operation Thor – and is headlined:

“New anti-burglary plan will send strong message to criminals in CONSTITUENCY- NAME.”

It’s believed this is a weekly practice from the party’s press office, where template statements are sent to councillors and election hopefuls.

What the others are saying 

  • The Irish Times leads with the IBRC inquiry, reporting that the a 77-page document was sent to the Taoiseach warning him of legal challenges that could cause significant delays to his work.
  • The Irish Examiner also leads with the obstacles facing the IBRC inquiry, reporting that problems relating to the inquiry were known as far back as August.
  • The Irish Independent reports that under possible new rent measures landlords could face a fine of up to €4,000 if they try to evict a tenant by claiming they are selling the property.
  • The Irish Daily Mail reports on Enda Kenny’s visitwith UK Prime Minister David Cameron where he warned that a Brexit would be a major strategic risk.

In case you missed it

Good day for 

Homeless services in Dublin. The city council has approved some €91 million for homeless services in the capital next year.

Bad day for 

The Attorney General. Máire Whelan has been under scrutiny lately in relation to the ongoing Siteserv saga. While ministers have been rallying around the AG, questions are being asked as to whether the legal conundrums could have been foreseen.

On the Twitter machine 

Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin spotted this on Moore Street this morning.

 

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