Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle says reform needed for investigation process

Pringle says reform needed for investigation process

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said the recent IBRC Commission of Investigation report into the sale of Siteserv has shown the value of the inquiry and the need for reform of the process.

Addressing the Dáil on Wednesday, Deputy Pringle said: “We have been waiting a long time for this report – seven years, in fact – and the fact that it has taken this long calls into question whether the manner in which public inquiries are undertaken in this country are adequate.

“It seems to me, based on this, that they’re not, but at the same time this is a very important report,” he said.

The deputy said: “It is my understanding that, due to the very long duration of this investigation and the accumulation of large costs to the State, there are now talks of closing down the commission.”

He said: “There is no doubt that urgent reform is needed and I would hope that if there was a question of closing down the commission that a vote on that motion would be brought to the Dáil to consider.

“Because although it took far too long to come to a conclusion, the findings in this report are absolutely in the public interest. The report details a catalogue of issues which showed the sale process ‘was undermined from the very beginning’,” the deputy said, during statements on the IBRC Commission of Investigation Report.

The deputy said that Chapter 15 of the report details bonuses that cost Siteserv over €800,000, more than Siteserv’s corporate finance advisers’ fees combined. The report went on to say that “in the context of Siteserv, these were bonus payments on a lavish scale and entirely unacceptable for a company that was costing the taxpayer almost 118 million in loan write-offs and losses”, he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “I understand that the Taoiseach has said that the cost of the Siteserv inquiry could exceed €30 million, and I agree that that is an indication of a broken system.

“But we are talking about the sale of a company that has cost the taxpayer €118 million, in a time of real hardship in this country,” he said.

The deputy said: “It’s an absolute disgrace. There is no doubt that this investigation was absolutely necessary. And I would like to assure the Government that I have not forgotten that we were initially told by the then Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, that an inquiry into the transaction was not necessary at all.

“In fact it took three years of opposition pushback before an inquiry was sought and I would like to take this opportunity to commend Deputy Murphy in her pursuit of this. I have no doubt that this inquiry would not have happened if it wasn’t for her endless work,” Deputy Pringle said, saying there are many areas of concern in the report.