Motion by People Before Profit TD  passed at Finance Committee calls for Denis O’Brien and senior figures at centre of Siteserv controversy to come before Committee to discuss sale of IBRC assets.

Bizarre behaviour by government TDs at Finance Committee today

20140710-094718-35238372.jpgToday, a motion put forward by  Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett TD, of the People Before Profit Alliance and member of the Dáil Finance Committee was passed, calling for the controversial issue of debt write-downs and large asset disposals at IBRC, arising from the Siteserv controversy to be examined at the committee.

The motion agreed today calls for the committee to invite Minister Michael Noonan, Department of Finance officials, Alan Dukes (Former IBRC chairperson), Mike Aynsley (Former IBRC CEO), Denis O Brien (Businessman) and other relevant parties and individuals to attend the committee to discuss these issues.

Deputy Boyd Barrett had re-worded the motion he initially presented to the committee two weeks ago because of legal difficulties and questions about the remit of the Finance committee raised by the parliamentary legal adviser.

Bizarrely, at the Finance committee today when the motion was being discussed, government TD’s called for a vote to prevent the motion being debated in public session, even though ultimately they felt obliged to accept the motion and it was passed.

Richard Boyd Barrett said, “I am very glad that we have finally got this motion through the Finance committee at the third attempt. It was very clear that the government TDs did not want this motion passed. Bizarrely they called a vote to prevent the discussion on the motion being held in public. However in the end they obviously felt they couldn’t be seen to oppose an issue of such huge importance being examined by the committee, and ultimately they were forced to agree to the motion.

IBRCThe whole issue of the sale of public assets by IBRC and the huge write-downs given on those assets is of enormous public concern and must be examined properly and openly.

We need to remember that these big disposals and huge write-downs of debt took place at the very same time that vicious cuts were imposed on hundreds of thousands of vulnerable and struggling households, and when we were being told by the government and the banks that write-downs of household mortgage debt for homeowners with mortgage difficulties were not possible because of so-called “moral hazard”.

The perception out there is that there was one policy for ordinary citizens when it came to debt but a very different policy for big corporate interests. Whether or not there was fairness or double standards when it came to dealing with debt by banks, that had been bailed out at huge cost to the public and society, is an issue that must be examined in an open and transparent way, and it must be done soon.

We need to hear from the major players from the government and the Department of Finance, from IBRC itself and some of the big purchasers of IBRC assets, such as Denis O’Brien, to establish whether or not the public interest was properly served and protected, or not. The easiest and most transparent way to, at least, begin the process of investigating the controversial and worrying issues that have emerged from the current IBRC and Siteserv controversy is to have the issues examined in an open and public way by the relevant Dáil committee.”