Bank inquiry whistleblower considers legal action

Fianna Fáil senator and in-quiry member Marc Mac-Sharry said that an immediate investigation needed to be launched to uncover the truth of what had been said.

The bank inquiry whistle-blower who claimed the investigation is beset with “conflicts of interest” and “corruption” is considering legal action after a report into the allegations said there are absolutely “no facts” to back them up.

The individual, who is no longer working for the inquiry, said last night they may sue because of the wording and conclusions of the independent report.

In early July, just 24 hours before ex-taoiseach Bertie Ahern attended the inquiry, members were informed of a series of allegations made by a back-room official three months earlier.

The claims included that some witnesses were given preferential treatment, key documents were allowed to be put out of reach, and that the inquiry team was misled by backroom officials, among other matters.

The issues were raised by Fianna Fáil senator and inquiry member Marc MacSharry, who said that an immediate investigation needed to be launched to uncover the truth of what had been said.

However, the independent report conducted on behalf of the Oireachtas by senior counsel Senan Allen has found there is no evidence to support the claims, and that the allegations “threatened to derail” the year-long investigation, as they could have seen two investigators step down.

According to the 141-page report, there is “no documentary evidence in support of the allegations” and files referred to by the whistle-blower “show no wrongdoing”.

It said the initial allegations by the whistle-blower “strikingly contained suspicion and conclusion but much less in the way of hard information” and posed questions which “were very difficult to reconcile with the facts”.

The report questioned the “reliability and validity of the confidential informant’s perspective” and that it was “bizarre” that a trained lawyer like the whistle-blower could not “understand” how the inquiry worked — with decisions described as “ludicrous” before being accepted as “correct”.

After examining the claims, the independent investigator found that the whistle-blower’s perspective “became so disturbed”, the only “rational” point of view the individual could see was their own “point of view”, with “any divergence perceived with suspicion”.

“The facts are not as the confidential recipient reported,” the investigation found. “In many cases the ‘facts’ as reported [by the whistleblower] are plainly at variance with the documentary evidence” and based on “wild surmise”.

The whistle-blower last night said they “categorically” refute the findings and that legal action is being considered.

In a separate response, Mr MacSharry said he has had “concerns” about how the claims have been handled throughout the dispute and “since they were first made to me”, adding that he still believes an “arms-length” investigation of their merits is needed.

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