Enda Kenny proposes greater powers for IBRC inquiry

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has recommended giving the State investigation into IBRC once-off powers to overrule the confidentiality of its high-profile clients and to see what deals they have been given by the bank.

The option was outlined to opposition parties in a detailed 12-page draft heads of Bill legal letter explaining how Government plans to overcome severe inquiry shortcomings, despite warnings the move poses serious legal risks to the State.

The letter is understood to give nine options on how to progress the investigation, after the judge leading the inquiry, Brian Cregan, warned last November he will not be able to complete his work as he does not have enough powers to examine what took place in a series of high-profile and costly deals.

They include:

  • Giving the State investigation once-off powers to overrule the confidentiality of IBRC clients in order to find out the specifics of any deals they were given by the State bank. This includes the right to go to the High Court to remove the blockages;
  • Further powers to examine what and who was behind the “unusual” share price fluctuations before the sale of firms central to the investigation.

The letter also warns a High Court case could be taken by IBRC clients challenging the potential changes, even if the moves are backed by the Dáil and Seanad and signed into law.

The options remain draft heads of bill, with the letter noting that no new law will be enacted until after the general election, which has sparked controversy among opposition parties.

The move to hand over the draft legislation comes after the inquiry was granted an extension until April to complete its work, despite Government promises it would be concluded before the Dáil is dissolved.


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