MORAL and political pressure have forced the government to set up a commission of investigation into all transactions involving a loss of €10m or more at the Irish Banking Resolution Corporation (IBRC). This will go further than and replace the inquiry into Siteserv dealings with IBRC, which was to have been conducted by accountancy firm KPMG, but had been shrouded in controversy about potential conflicts of interest.
The pressure on the government in the wake of independent TD Catherine Murphy’s statement, made under Dáil privilege, about certain alleged dealings with IBRC, coupled with the rather bizarre episode of documents relating to the Siteserv controversy having been ‘misfiled’ in the Department of Finance before being found again, made the investigation inevitable, especially if the government wants to restore some credibility. The KPMG inquiry was due to report by August, but the more extensive investigation by a retired High Court judge will not be reporting until December – by which time, some cynics opine, a general election may have been called.
The government has a poor track record of reading public disquiet about various controversies and seems to be reticent about taking decisive action where matters of importance need to be investigated independently. One would think that they should have learned by now that the more they dig in, the deeper to hole they find themselves in, further eroding the public’s trust in them and giving the impression that they may have something to hide.