Howlin keen for Oireachtas inquiry into banking crisis
FINANCIAL INVESTIGATION:LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS to allow for a banking inquiry will be brought to Cabinet shortly, Minster for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has confirmed.
Mr Howlin is determined to press ahead with an Oireachtas inquiry despite the electorate’s rejection last year of the Government-backed referendum to give committees strong powers.
“There is a view that we need an analysis of how we got into the economic mess we got. Obviously the legislation can’t trespass on the constraints of the Constitution but it is to get as much information, and lay it out into the public domain, as we can,” he said.
Both the Committee of Public Accounts and the Finance Committee want to undertake the investigation. Mr Howlin said the two committees had made presentations to him and related discussions had been held at Cabinet level.
Mr Howlin gave an update on Oireachtas inquiries and other proposed political reform measures when he briefed reporters on the implementation of the Government’s public service reform plan yesterday.
A progress report on the plan was released yesterday. It said the necessity for an effective legal framework for Oireachtas inquiries consistent with the existing constitutional position “speaks for itself”.
It said “advanced and detailed” draft heads of a Bill providing a statutory framework for Oireachtas inquiries were being finalised.
“It is intended subject to final legal advice to bring these legislative proposals to Government shortly,” the report said.
The proposed legislation does not seek to establish a banking inquiry exclusively and the planned law would allow for other investigations.
The referendum seeking to provide the Oireachtas with full powers of inquiry was defeated last October by 53.3 per cent to 46.7 per cent.
Mr Howlin was the sponsoring Minister.
Yesterday Mr Howlin said his department had tested public opinion afterwards and the data found that “overwhelmingly people wanted an inquiry”.