Kenny says Government planning Oireachtas inquiry into banking collapse
Fianna Fáil leader does not believe bankers can be held to account by parliamentary investigation
Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm: heard laughing at concerns from the financial regulator. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Mr Kenny said the tapes had been supplied to the Garda over four years ago as part of its investigation into matters at Anglo Irish Bank.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the Government will initiate an Oireachtas investigation into the banking collapse.
Amid heated exchanges on the Anglo Irish Bank tapes in the Dáil this afternoon, Mr Kenny said the necessary legislation would be processed through the Dáil and Seanad.
“We will set up our parliamentary inquiry; we will define the set of terms of reference and move on to get accountability and truth in the people’s interest,” he added.
- Heated exchanges in Dáil over Anglo revelations
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- International reaction to Anglo tapes revelations
- Brass neck and sneers as Anglo tried to hoodwink State
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- Full coverage of the bank tapes controversy
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All sides of the House strongly condemned the content of the tapes and the individuals involved and demanded Government action. Mr Kenny said: “The buck stops with the Government and I am going after [reckless bankers].”
Mr Kenny said the tapes had been supplied to the Garda over four years ago as part of its investigation into matters at the bank. That investigation had led to a number of criminal charges being brought.
He was speaking after taped recordings published by the Irish Independent showed senior bank executives both misled led the Central Bank about the scale of its financial woes in 2008 and intended to abuse the State bank guarantee.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the contents of the tapes had angered, sickened and shocked people across the country. A comprehensive, independent inquiry was required, but the Government should reflect on whether it should be a parliamentary inquiry. Such an inquiry could not hold non-officeholders to account, he added.
“The people in these tapes cannot be held to account by a parliamentary inquiry,” he added.
Responding to questions on the leaked tapes of conversations between Anglo Irish Bank executives from 2008, Mr Kenny said it was important to remember “who the victims are; the families and ordinary people”.
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said he was astounded to discover that Finance Minister Michael Noonan had no idea the tapes existed.
“If he didn’t know, then why didn’t he know?” Mr Adams asked.
The Sinn Féin leader said the fact the Government was unaware of the practice of recording phone calls questions how much confidence the public should place in it.
Mr Adams added that Minister for Justice Alan Shatter should have had access to the tapes and been able to compile a report of ongoing Garda investigations for the public domain.
He said had the tapes not emerged through the media, the bankers in question would not have been exposed.
Earlier, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said the Government planned to spend the summer “getting all the detail in place getting the scoping done and all the regulations in place so we can embark on a proper inquiry early in the next Dáil term”.
Such an inquiry would have the ability to summon witnesses and take evidence under oath, Mr Howlin said.
Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said while the content of the Anglo Irish Bank tapes had not been discussed by the Cabinet today - while he was in attendance - Ministers were shocked by the content and tone of the revelations.