The Minister of State at the Department of Finance has said the sale of Siteserv by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation was viewed at the time as "the ordinary course of business".

Responding to a question from independent TD Catherine Murphy during Topical Issues this evening, Simon Harris said IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, was not required to consult with the Minister for Finance to approve the sale of Siteserv at the time.

Earlier today, Opposition TDs called for an inquiry into the sale of Siteserv by IBRC.

Mr Harris explained that department officials decided to look at the transaction more carefully on 31 May 2012.

He said that on 11 June when they looked at the review "they were concerned that Siteserv controlled the sale process rather than IBRC".

He said Minister for Finance Michael Noonan met the chairman and CEO of IBRC in July 2012, saying that both made strong assurances that the transactions were "strongly assessed" by the board and the management of the bank and the sale was in the best interests of the State.

Mr Harris said it was decided that a senior department official would be seconded to the IBRC.

He said one of the conditions of the EU/IMF bailout included putting relationship frameworks in place with the banks and that they were designed to separate banks from the State and value the banks from assets of the State.

Mr Harris said that the revised relationship framework was more intrusive in IBRC than other banks due to its unique position as a run-down vehicle through promissory notes.

He said every action taken by the Government had been taken to minimise the cost of bailing out the banks to the taxpayer.

He concluded that it was not possible to give definitive views regarding commercial decision by banks.

Earlier today, responding to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny suggested that Mr Noonan respond to the question on an inquiry into the sale of IBRC.

The Taoiseach said he was reluctant to say something that he could not stand over as he did not have details with him and suggested that Mr Noonan respond to the question in the Oireachtas.

Based on documents obtained by Ms Murphy under Freedom of Information, concerns have been raised over tensions between the IBRC and the Department of Finance.

Mr Martin called on the Taoiseach to instigate an independent inquiry into the matter, echoing earlier calls from Ms Murphy.

Those tensions centre on the sale of Siteserv to the Denis O'Brien-owned company Millington.

Siteserv won the contract for the installation of water meters.

The FOI response to the request from Ms Murphy shows much of the responses are "heavily redacted".

The documents indicate that there were many concerns among senior staff in the Department of Finance over transactions carried out by IBRC and the department's relationship with management within the bank.  

A separate memorandum states that relationships with IBRC senior management team were "strained" as the department worked to gain greater insight to what was going on in the bank through the introduction of a Relationship Framework. 

Speaking to reporters, Ms Murphy said there were "contradictions" to replies she has been receiving from Mr Noonan to her Parliamentary Questions for the last number of months.