The impact on Ireland of the decisions taken by the Fianna Fáil-led Government to support Anglo Irish Bank, more recently called IBRC, with €34.7 billion of taxpayers’ money has been immense, Finance Minister Michael Noonan told the Dáil.
“We are not talking about €105 million but about the €34.7 billion from the Fianna Fáil-led Government when the current leader of Fianna Fáil was a Minister,” he said.
Replying to a Fianna Fail motion which called for an independent enquiry into the sale of Siteserv by the IRBC, he said the legislation that provided for the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank allowed the bank commercial freedom in its operations under the direction of its chairman and board of directors. There was no day-to-day role for the Minister for Finance and no reporting requirement to the Department of Finance for transactions such as the Siteserv transaction.
“The legislation introduced by a Fianna Fáil-led Government in 2009, in nationalising Anglo Irish Bank, made it difficult for the Minister and the Department of Finance to exercise governance over IBRC and to ensure its accountability,” he said.
“Under the oversight or relationship framework that applied prior to 29 March 2012, the period during which the board approved the Siteserv transaction, the board of IBRC was not required to consult with the Minister for Finance on transactions such as Siteserv and did not do so. The relationship framework was put in place by the Government of which Deputy Martin was a member and created governance difficulties for the Department of Finance. It was difficult, under this system the Deputy put in place, to hold IBRC to account.”
However, he said a relationship framework, dated 8 July 2009, was in place at the time the board of IBRC approved the sale of Siteserv. Under this relationship framework, the Board of IBRC were required to engage with the Minister for Finance on certain key issues, which included any material acquisitions, disposals, investments, realisations or other transactions, other than in the ordinary course of Anglo Irish Bank’s banking business.
It should be noted, he said, that this relationship framework did not include any specific monetary thresholds which would trigger mandatory consultation with the Minister for Finance.
“As such, IBRC’s efforts, as a secured lender, to maximise the recovery on its loans to Siteserv was considered to be in the ordinary course of business,” he said.
“For that reason, and under the relationship framework in place at that time, IBRC was not required to consult with the Minister for Finance on this matter in advance of making the decision to approve the sale of Siteserv and it did not do so. The Department and the Minister operated in accordance with the legislation and the relationship framework put in place by the previous Government.”
“Of course there was a Government issue and it was difficult to ensure accountability but the law was on the side of IBRC because the law was introduced by Deputy Martin and his colleagues,” added Minister Noonan.
The Fianna Fáil motion was defeated by 73 votes to 43.
Heffernan critical of treatment of Limerick ladies Football team
The treatment of the ladies who took part in the recent Intermediate Football Final between Limerick and Offaly was raised in the Upper House by Limerick Senator James Heffernan. Prior to the under-21 Football Final between Tipperary and Tyrone the Intermediate Ladies Football Final took place between Limerick and Offaly which Offaly won, he said.
“It is the treatment of the ladies involved prior to the game that I wish to highlight,” he said. “They show the same dedication in training as everybody else, yet they had to tog out at a location ten minutes away from the pitch by bus. They were not allowed to bring their gear bags into the ground. The half-time team talk took place in a hallway in which people were preparing food. The ladies concerned who have given so much of their time to playing for their counties did not receive as much as the match programme, even though they were playing in an All-Ireland final. That is not good enough at a time when we have such good female role models in sport.”
Senator Heffernan said Katie Taylor is an obvious one, he said as is Anna Geary, the captain of the Cork camogie team who has received four All-Star awards and has four All-Ireland medals and who announced her retirement recently.
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