Taoiseach admits there are no Controls over the Spiralling Costs of SiteServe Investigation
Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín TD has raised the crisis in costs of the Commission of Investigation into the IBRC with the Taoiseach in the Dáil. He stated;
“In the Revised Estimates there is €4.2 million allocated by an Taoiseach’s office to the cost of Tribunals. There is serious concern over the expenditure of taxpayer funds with negligible oversight or control”.
“Only last week, in a response from your office Taoiseach to myself, you admitted that there are no controls over the length of time or the costs being incurred by the Commission of Investigation into the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. I also asked the Minister for Finance “what controls are in place to ensure that the investigation achieves its objectives in a timely and cost efficient manner”. However I was told by the Ceann Chomhairle that the Minister for Finance has no “formal responsibility to the Dáil for this”.
“Now Taoiseach you will know that this Commission of Investigation was formed in 2015 on the back a serious political crisis. The Commission was tasked to investigate certain transactions and decisions at the IBRC, most notably those that led to the sales of Siteserv by IBRC to a Denis O’Brien at a loss to the State of €119 million”.
“Other serious questions arose as to why was there a surge in share dealing activity in Siteserv prior to its sale, why were shareholders in Siteserv paid €5 million for an insolvent company and why were other bidders excluded from the sale process?
“The Commission of Investigation was due to issue its final report at the end of 2015 at an estimated cost of €4 million. Yet here we are in the second half of the 2020, the first module of 38 modules is not complete and has been extended a further 3 months”.
“The cost of this module is expected to top out at €14 million. The former Taoiseach has estimated that the final cost will be well be north of 30 million. However other analysts have claimed that it will eventually hit €70m”.
“€70m is approaching the cost of the initial IBRC write down that the Commission was set up to investigate. Its no small money. It equates to the cost of 14 Primary Care Centres in the year the Commission was set up. Given that shocking history of this state with regards the hundreds of millions spent on Tribunals it is absolutely scandalous that this government and the last have implemented no controls on the cost of Investigations”.
“We in Aontú want to see justice. We want to see this Commission get to the heart of the IBRC decisions but we are also calling on the government get a grip of these runaway costs now.
Taoiseach, how many tribunals, public investigations and commissions of investigations are currently in process? Can you detail how long each has been underway? Can you detail how close each one is to conclusion? Can you detail the cost of each at this time and what is the estimated cost at completion”?