Department of Finance email volumes

Some time ago I sought information on certain emails between the Department of Finance and other organisations. The request was refused on volume grounds (I am appealing), but in the internal review the Department broke down email volumes for the period I requested, September 1, 2007 to June 30, 2009. Here is the breakdown:

The email exchange to both Bank of Ireland and to the Department of the Taoiseach are particularly interesting. Why was Bank of Ireland more than twice Anglo? Interesting.

Sunday Times piece on Fás

We’ve a story in today’s Sunday Times about an interesting building that Fás has been renting from a Mr Terry Oliver. It’s behind a paywall, so no link, unfortunately. It took several months to compile through a series of FOI requests which were funded from you lot, the people who do be readin’ this here blog.

The Sunday Times piece opens…

FAS, the state training agency, is renting a warehouse from the former tax partner of a consultancy firm which has been “consistently successful” in tendering for work from the agency.

Unit 9 at Tolka Valley business park in Finglas, north Dublin, has been rented since 2000 from Terry Oliver, formerly of OSK, an accounting and business consultancy.  Internal audits have concluded  that Greg Craig, the former head of corporate affairs at Fás, had a conflict of interest in awarding contracts to OSK because of his close personal relationship with Oliver.

I will post it in full on Monday.

For those of you who bought a copy of the paper and therefore have the context, here’s the documents…

1) November 2000 – Solicitors refer to finance and admin manager asking that the lease be concluded “as expeditiously as possible”, before the lease was signed off.

2) Fire safety compliance questioned if building altered. Work was later done on the building.

3) Mr Oliver disputes cancellation of lease in reply to letter from training centre.

4) March 2003 – Manager of training centre writes to Mr Oliver to confirm they will seek to cancel the lease.

5) Email from Richard Keegan who assessed the site and found it was not fire safety compliant; did not have a fundamental requirement for running applicable courses; had been closed in the past as it didn’t meet basic health and safety regulations; does not have ventilation for gas welding… “not to mention all the other regulations it has been in breach of in the past”.

6) June 2007 – Concerns raised about the effectiveness of running a plumbing course in a building with no gas facilities.

7) Manager of training centre says that sub-letting or amending the site would not be cost-effective, notes site would require significant work to make it suitable for a prospective tenant.

8) October 2009 – Letter from local manager tells of how they had attempted to get out of the lease recently once more, notes the lease was “watertight”.

9) Example cheque for monthly rent.

10) Example invoice.

Copy of inquiry sent to Fás Press office last Tuesday. Please note that most of the questions listed could be answered from the 300+ pages of documents we obtained under FOI for this story, we were looking to get useful quotes.

This type of work is utterly uneconomical for two freelance journalists to undertake. Even without including costs for our time spent working on the story, we’d still make a loss simply on expenses incurred. All money received from the Sunday Times goes back into the FOI fund.

I’ll post some additional information later in the week.

Knackered, until next time.

Anglo emails

I received a bunch of emails today from the Department of Finance in relation to communications with Anglo Irish Bank between September 2008 and February 2009. I will scan them all shortly and upload. One in particular though caught my eye. It’s an email exchange between Marie Mulvihill at the DoF and John Paul Coleman at Anglo Irish Bank. It’s dated February 2, 2009, just two weeks after nationalisation, subject line: “Query over Tier 2 capital”.

John Paul

We have received a query regarding the tier 2 capital securities on Anglo Irish Bank’s balance sheet. I’ve had a quick look at the preliminary results as at 30th September 2008 but can’t locate a break down.

I would be grateful if you could outline what makes up the Tier 2 capital and whether it is covered by the Bank Guarantee Scheme.

Many Thanks


About an hour later, John Paul emailed back, stating:


With Tier 2 capital the Bank has two forms of securities issued these are Lower Tier II (LT2) and Upper Tier II.

LT2 the Bank has issued all have a final maturity date and therefore fall into the dated subordinated category’ which is covered by the Bank guarantee scheme. The coupons on LT2 cannot be deferred and most be paid at each coupon date

The Bank has 5 LT2 deals outstanding these are
€750 million Floating Rate Subordinated Notes 2014
US$.165 million Subordinated Notes Series A 2015
US$ 35 million Subordinated Notes Series B 2017
€500 million Floating Rate Subordinated Notes 2016
€750 million Floating Rate Subordinated Notes 2017

In total the Bank has €2,112 million outstanding at 30t h September 2008 of LT2 Upper Tier II that the Bank has issued is perpetual bonds i.e. they do not have a final maturity date.

Unlike LT2 the coupons on Upper Tier II can be deferred but are cumulative i.e. if you miss one coupon payment at the next coupon payment date you most pay the two coupons. Upper Tier II is not covered under the Bank Guarantee Scheme as it is perpetual

The Bank has one Upper Tier 2 GBP300miilion with a value of €385milIion at the 30th September 2008.

If you need any additional information please let me know.


The question I am asking myself is why, two weeks after nationalisation, the Department of Finance was only then asking about Tier 2 Capital? Interestingly, Carl O’Brien at the Irish Times sought the briefing papers used by DoF officials at a recent Oireachtas committee. The DoF is keen to defend itself it would appear.

Original document here:

DOF/Anglo email