In a statement to the Banking Inquiry responding to evidence given by Mr Noonan to it on September 10, Mr Dukes said parts of the finance minister’s evidence “seems to me to be based on an inaccurate interpretation of events”.
“With the sole exception of his remarks in the Dáil when proposing the bill to liquidate the bank in February 2013, the minister’s public references to the bank have tended to be negative,” said Mr Dukes. “At one point, he used the words ‘criminality’ and ‘wrongdoing’. I believe this is largely due to unjustified hostility or a plain lack of comprehension on the part of current and former senior officials of the Department of Finance who lacked the understanding and the capacity to use constructively the abilities of a group of people who took on a difficult and challenging task and who served the State well.”
Mr Noonan’s comments included statements that “the chairman and the chief executive of IBRC constantly talk as if IBRC were a going concern” and “the chairman and the chief executive had an idea that they could trade Anglo Irish Bank into being a solvent bank and it was clear as crystal that that was Mission Impossible”.
Mr Dukes said IBRC decisions required the retention of a banking licence by IBRC and that required it to operate as a going concern. He also said: “Minister Noonan appears to have overlooked the fact that I personally assured him during the course of several conversations in his office that the board and management of the bank were completely committed to the wind-down process.” In his statement, Mr Dukes also referenced a remark by the minister about a comment by IBRC chief Mike Aynsley.
That comment was to the effect that a Department of Finance official claimed the minister would prefer that the bank realise €100m less for an asset rather than sell it to a named individual. The individual was not named.
Mr Noonan said of the comment: “Yes, I read the comments made by Mr Aynsley in the newspapers. I didn’t know what he was talking about. It sounded like dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi to me.”
The next section of Mr Dukes’s evidence was redacted as the banking inquiry decided it was being handled by the Commission of Investigation into IBRC.