Opposition party leaders have said they are not convinced by arguments put forward by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan against the proposed inquiry into IBRC producing an interim report ahead of its year-end deadline.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald were among opposition leaders who met Mr Noonan to discuss the terms of reference.

Both said it had been a constructive meeting, but Ms McDonald insisted afterwards the commission had to show that “snails’ pace inquiries need not be the norm here”.

It is understood Mr Noonan told them he was amenable to having his own department’s relationship with IBRC as part of the inquiry’s remit.

Mr Martin also said Mr Noonan seemed happy to have the bank’s wealth management section investigated, which is a key Fianna Fáil demand.

Earlier, Ms McDonald said she will not have faith in the inquiry if the three conditions set out by her party are not included in the terms of reference.

She said the Department of Finance and ministers' role and relationship with IBRC, the procedures for the extension or rolling over of loans and the transactions carried out after 2013 by the special liquidator must be included for the inquiry to be credible.

She said minister Noonan listened carefully to the suggestions and she hoped that he would act in good faith and in the public interest.

She said the Commission had to act thoroughly and speedily and not at the snail pace that investigations often happen at in Ireland. 

Meanwhile, Independent TD Catherine Murphy said she had sought and received assurances on the resources available to the proposed Irish Bank Resolution Corporation inquiry when she met the minister.

She said Mr Noonan told her the judge heading the Commission of Investigation would have the discretion to inquire into transactions below the €10m threshold in the draft terms of reference.

She said Mr Noonan insisted it would be an inquiry into IBRC and not the period after the bank was liquidated in 2013,  but agreed that there were crossover transactions that might fall within its remit.

The North Kildare TD said she was told that any interim report would be a matter for the judge involved, but repeated her view that resources were the key issue to allow the commission to do its work without delay.

The Taoiseach said it is not possible to issue a deadline for the completion of the inquiry.

Speaking in Castlebar, Enda Kenny said once the terms of reference for the investigation were approved by the Dáil, the workings of the inquiry will be a matter for the person who is overseeing it.

However, Mr Kenny said it would be possible to allow for some issues to be examined ahead of others, so that interim reports might be issued before the entire exercise was completed.

He said he hoped the commission would bring clear and independent answers to issues that had been raised. 

He said that while a lot of assertions had been made, nothing had been proven.

The Taoiseach said the "claim and counter claim" of recent weeks would be investigated in the interests of truth and justice. 

He said it was important to state there was no evidence at this stage of any wrongdoing or incompetent governance at IBRC. 

Opposition TDs have met the Chief Whip in advance of a two-day Dáil debate on the Commission of Investigation.

Mr Noonan has indicated he is willing to consider widening the inquiry's terms of reference amid concerns the scope is too narrow.


Analysis: Political Correspondent David Davin-Power

It is clear what a task the judge will have in examining a whole raft of deals.

We heard former IBRC Chief Mike Aynsley suggesting there were over €1bn worth of write-downs that might fall under the remit of this inquiry. 

The Opposition is well aware the curtain is about to fall on the political end of this drama.

However, we should have a lively couple of days' debate in the Dáil on this issue. 

It does seem most unlikely that this inquiry will be finished by the end of the year. 

Michael Noonan may be open to some concessions to the Opposition but there are a lot of red-line issues. 

Even in terms of an interim report, it may be difficult to separate out the Siteserv controversy from the rest of the issues covered by the IBRC Commission of Investigation.