By Liam Deegan

Let me start with a couple of questions rather than ask them at the end.

1) When did legal and banking privilege become law?
2) How do you tie a Judge’s hand behind his back?
3) The Siteserv Liquidation… Why was it done?
4) Why does legal and banking privilege only apply to Dennis O’Brien?
5) The Attorney General – What was her role and advice to Government?

The first question relates to the IBRC / Siteserv inquiry and it simply asks when does privilege become law? The answer is that it doesn’t, never has and never will!

In essence, KPMG are claiming that it can’t and won’t release documents that are critical to the IBRC / Siteserv inquiry as that would break the so called “client – legal / banker privacy privilege”. What KPMG are claiming does NOT exist in law and is only a handshake agreement between any bank and it’s clients and therefore does not stop KPMG from releasing any documents to the inquiry. Privilege is just that… A nod and a wink!

How Do You Tie a Judge’s Hands Behind His Back?

Yes, Mr Justice Cregan can go to the High Court and have another judge order the release of the documents, however the reality is that there is absolutely nothing stopping the inquiry team from going into the Companies Registration Office and in through the door of the Special Liquidator and then rightly demanding every document on record. To be clear about this, there is absolutely nothing stopping KPMG releasing the documents, except that they don’t want their part in the sale of SIteserv to surface and how they made their commission.

The Siteserv Liquidation… Why was it done?

How timely was it that the KPMG Special Liquidator dissolved Siteserv just before the inquiry was formed? Was KPMG told of the necessity of keeping the company alive by the government or the Department of Finance and therefore keeping the books available for inspection by the inquiry without the need to go to court or was this a blatant attempt at hiding the documents from the inquiry and calling “legal and banking privilege” after the event?

The reality is that there is no need to look for a High Court order to bring Siteserv back as the information already exists in many quarters that are already available to the Judge, such as in places like the Department of Finance, the CRO and most especially in the hands of KPMG, who as it happens are in receipt of millions of taxpayers money for playing the role of gatekeeper. These documents that are clearly in the public interest, considering we bailed IBRC out to the tune of €34 billion but clearly not in the interest of a few well placed individuals.

However the government had already tied Mr Justice Cregan’s hands behind his back by giving him the absolute minimum in terms of investigators or help of any kind, in order to frustrate and to circumvent the outcome of the inquiry and Mr Justice Cregan goes on to say as much but in the nicest possible way of course.

Why Does Privilege Only Apply to Dennis O’Brien?

This government are especially protective of their relationship with O’Brien and are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that doesn’t become public. Furthermore KPMG are being protected by the government at every turn and why? Because, you will find that the relationship is far closer between all parties than is imagined and of course there is information in those much sought after documents that the government don’t want made public. It is as simple as that!

How ironic is it that the government tasked the very company that helped facilitate the sale of Siteserv to O’Brien, also happen to be the same people who are refusing to hand over documents, citing a spurious piece of verbal junk that has no basis in law and why has Mr Justice Cregan not picked up on this and headed straight up the steps of the Four Courts to have the documents on his desk by this coming Monday morning?

We have had plenty of inquiries and tribunals that have dealt with the “legal and banking privilege” and have managed to see through the smokescreen before, so what makes this inquiry different? The difference is that if one particular domino falls, then they all fall and they know it!

So does Dennis O’Brien have any privileges that are more important than the public or taxpayers interests or did this government deem that protectionism at all costs is the order of the day? It certainly seems so…

The Attorney General – What Was Her Role and Advice to Government?

Firstly, Maire Whelan is a highly respected lawyer with a brilliant analytical and legal mind that has few opposites. Those words are not mine but are the general consensus of people that I know within the Law network. Why would these people say that Ms Whelan is a bit of a legal genius, a very decent individual and certainly not a gobshite and yet the government has not only disrespected the office of Attorney General but also treated Ms Whelan as a gobshite in their dealings with her… They made her the fall guy!

The role of the Attorney General is to advise the government and to look at every possible scenario to ensure that the legal advice given is in accordance with not only the law but also the constitution and therefore would have given several legal options and outcomes to the government regarding the IBRC / Siteserv inquiry. However the government chose the very option that they knew would stop and frustrate any inquiry into Dennis O’Brien and the Siteserv deal.

Ms.Whelan was clearly gagged when she made it clear that the route the government took in regards to the inquiry was going to stop the inquiry in it’s tracks and she in turn was made to backtrack on her initial press statement. When a government resorts to making the legal system do handstands to suit connected individuals then they have moved into an altogether different realm that doesn’t have the word democracy in it!.

Not only has this government frustrated the law at every turn, they have cost us €1.1 billion in the great IBRC transaction giveaway and all in the name of the protection of men like O’Brien and other wealthy and connected members of a society that clearly exists outside of our society.

The Dennis O’Brien / Siteserv deal needs to be dealt with on its own merits and the inquiry should be made focus solely on this element instead of going off on a tangent by including every other transaction over 10 million. The next government can focus on the rest of the transactions and apply the full measure to getting to the bottom of them and dealing with the players accordingly.

The opposition foolishly bought into this without realising that it was going to be a whitewash job and an attempt to stymie any real in depth look into how joined at the hip that O’Brien and Fine Gael really are.

The people,on the other hand aren’t as easily fooled… 2016 is going to be a very tough year for many politicians, their parties and their influential friends. The last thing Fine Gael want is to do is to go into an election looking dirty, but it looks like its too late… The dirt has already stuck!


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