Banking inquiry to begin within ‘a couple of months’

Taoiseach, however, fails to confirm if probe will get under way before elections

 Taoiseach Enda Kenny stressed that the Oireachtas investigation would not touch on matters that are already before the courts. Photograph: Alan Betson / Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny stressed that the Oireachtas investigation would not touch on matters that are already before the courts. Photograph: Alan Betson / Irish Times

Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 14:06

The Oireachtas inquiry into the collapse of the Republic’s banking system will get under way in “a couple of months”, Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed today.

The Coalition has been promising an inquiry into the circumstances that created the crisis, which ultimately forced the Republic to seek an EU-International Monetary Fund bailout, since it was elected in early 2011.

Mr Kenny said that the Dáil and Seanad will debate the standing orders necessary to establish the committee that will carry out the inquiry in two weeks and added that the probe itself will get under way within months.

“I would say a couple of months,” he said. “There’s a process here, it’s not a Government bank inquiry, Government triggers the opportunity to hold an enquiry.”

There is speculation that the inquiry is likely to get under way shortly before the local and European Parliament elections on May 23rd, but the Taoiseach did not confirm this.

He said that the investigation would focus on the “events and facts leading up the situation that occured.”

Mr Kenny stressed that the Oireachtas investigation would not touch on matters that are already before the courts.

A number of senior figures from the industry, including former Anglo Irish Bank chairman, Sean FitzPatrick, its one-time head of treasury, John Bowe, and ex-Irish Life & Permanent chief executive, Denis Casey, are facing prosecution arising from transactions that occurred before the crisis.

Mr Kenny was speaking after opening the Global Airfinance Conference in Dublin this morning.

Addressing the gathering, made up of professionals involved in aviation finance and aircraft leasing, Mr Kenny pointed out that the Republic is keen to maintain its leading position in the industry.

He welcomed the news that the Irish Stock Exchange is launching a dedicated market for aviation finance and related activities.

Specialist debt instruments related to aircraft finance worth almost €13 billion are already listed in Dublin.

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