Taoiseach Enda Kenny is considering a “full-blown” Moriarty tribunal-style inquiry into the IBRC and Siteserv saga due to ongoing difficulties facing the investigation.
During a Dáil debate yesterday, Mr Kenny said the option may have to be examined. He insisted there “wasn’t anything sinister” about the decision to publish an interim report last Friday evening, with a bank holiday looming.
Responding to calls from Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy for an update on the investigation, Mr Kenny said he is giving Judge Brian Cregan a two-month extension to further examine the case.
He said he is also considering a range of other legal options, including a “full-blown inquiry”.
“I’d be happy to accommodate you with a meeting either today or tomorrow to let you have an up-to-date, accurate range of those opinions which include actually a full-blown public inquiry,” said Mr Kenny.
“However, when we consider that Moriarty [the corruption tribunal examining payments to politicians] ran for 13 years at a very costly sum to the taxpayer, these are options that need to be considered.”
Mr Kenny and Ms Murphy — who has repeatedly raised the Siteserv controversy since late 2014 — are due to meet today to discuss what investigation options are now available.
Ms Murphy has previously made it clear she wants Siteserv to be examined by itself before any wide-ranging inquiry takes hold due to the complex nature of the matters involved.
It is understood that while Ms Murphy is not in favour of a full inquiry due to the cost and length involved, she will not back down from investigating the Siteserv controversy and may agree to it if it is the only viable option.
The Siteserv and IBRC investigation was set up in June 2015 after public outrage and a brief constitutional crisis over what could be reported in the Dáil due to allegations made about businessman Denis O’Brien.
It had been intended to complete its work within seven weeks after examining 37 company sales — including the Siteserv deal linked to Irish Water.
When the inquiry was launched, Mr Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan both insisted it would be published before February’s election.
However, in an initial interim report published before Christmas Judge Cregan said he has not been given adequate powers to properly examine the matters.
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