Kenny and Martin clash on banking inquiry

Dail condemns contents of Anglo Irish Bank tapes

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was imperative to establish the terms of reference of a parliamentary committee.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was imperative to establish the terms of reference of a parliamentary committee.

Wed, Jun 26, 2013, 01:00

There were sharp differences between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on the proposed banking inquiry, as the Dáil condemned the contents of the Anglo Irish Bank recordings.

Mr Martin said the revelations in the recordings had angered, sickened and shocked people.

“The conversations recorded illustrate a banking culture that was reckless, oblivious to the damage it was causing people, devoid of any sense of responsibility to anyone, other than interests of self-preservation, and dismissive of authority,” he said.


Inquiry
He said the proposed parliamentary inquiry could not hold non-public officeholders to account, nor could it make findings of fact adverse to the good name of any person who was not a member of the House or who could not be held accountable to it.

“The people on these tapes cannot be held to account by a Dáil committee, an Oireachtas hearing or parliamentary inquiry.’’

Mr Kenny said that while it was easy to be shocked and angry about the revelations, the victims should be remembered. They were the tens of thousands of families, ordinary people around the country, who became victims of the axis of collusion between the bank and Fianna Fáil and bankers in general in order to inflate the property business.

He added that it was imperative to establish the terms of reference of a parliamentary committee and that it deal with political accountability and how the government of the time was duped into making the bailout decision.


‘Arrogant and contemptuous’
“Why is it in this day and age there is no record in the Department of the Taoiseach of the conversations about this matter between bankers and those who were in government, when tens of thousands of people have watched their families emigrating because of what these boys did in the banks, aided and abetted by the culture of a government that was arrogant and contemptuous?’’ he said.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said it was five years since the shameful banking episode and not one banker had served one day of a prison sentence for their role in bankrupting the State.

“Ordinary citizens know that if they do not pay their television licence fee or the new taxes, they will face prosecution,” he said.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath, on behalf of the technical group, said what was needed was a short and sharp commission of inquiry as well as a robust criminal investigation.