The alleged spike in Siteserv shares happened months before its sale and the Department of Finance had no visibility on the transaction until after it happened, the Public Accounts Committee has heard.

Responding to a question from Fine Gael TD John Deasy, the Department’s secretary general Derek Moran said they did not contact anyone over the allegation of improper share dealings as the matter did not fall under its remit.

Second secretary Ann Nolan said they had no evidence of insider trading, but this was a matter for the IFSC and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

She said changes are being made to give the Central Bank a remit in this area, which she said would be more appropriate than the current arrangements. 

On the meeting between IRBC officials and representatives of the department on 11 June, Mr Moran said the key concern was that Siteserv led the sale, not the bank. 

Meanwhile, Ms Nolan told the PAC that the liquidation of IBRC was not connected to the concerns over the sale of Siteserv.

She said the first mention of a possible liquidation of IBRC would have been in September 2012.

There was some initial discussions with the department and the troika, she said, but on a very small scale, about whether they could replace the Anglo promissory note with long term bonds if the bank was liquidated.

"That was totally separate to the questions on Siteserv", Ms Nolan said.

Sinn Féin td Mary Lou McDonald asked the representatives why they had recommended a report by the special liquidator as a way of dealing with the public concerns about the Siteserv deal. 

Ms Nolan said they wanted to recommend something that would yield results quickly. 

Ms McDonald said they had done a disservice to the taxpayer by recommending this and it was “most unwise” for the Minister for Finance to accept this “bad advice”.

Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming asked Ms Nolan what was the agreed fee with KPMG for their work in relation to the report.  

She said that she didn't know this as it depended on the hours. 

Mr Fleming asked if nothing had been learned from the country’s experiences in recent years, and said he was horrified that the tax pay would have to write a blank cheque for this.

Ms Nolan said the rates of fee has already been set by the contract with the special liquidator. 

The committee was told that a scoping exercise was already underway, which included retired High Court judge Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill. 

Ms Nolan said when they would obviously robustly challenge the estimates but Mr Fleming said he thought this breached all public procedure rules.

Mr Moran said what was needed was an expeditious response and the person who had all the information to address the public concern is the special liquidator.

He said that, at end of the day, the charge - though possibly not the judge’s fee - would not fall back on voted expenditure.