Politicians’ views differ over best way to investigate collapse of banking sector

Independent TD Shortall says investigation needs to go ‘way beyond’ Dáil inquiry

RO
Róisín Shortall: ‘I believe there is a need for a commission of inquiry to deal with this absolutely comprehensively and speedily, and I also think consideration should be given to the introduction of 
special powers.’ Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

RO Róisín Shortall: ‘I believe there is a need for a commission of inquiry to deal with this absolutely comprehensively and speedily, and I also think consideration should be given to the introduction of special powers.’ Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Wed, Jun 26, 2013, 08:56



Politicians from both sides of the Dáil have expressed differing views as to whether an Oireachtas-led inquiry is the appropriate way to investigate the collapse of the State’s banking system.

Former Labour TD and minister of state Róisín Shortall yesterday called for a commission of inquiry to be established to examine the events that led to the collapse of the sector.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio Ms Shortall said a “forensic examination” was required to find out exactly what went on in the banking sector, which had “brought this country to the brink of collapse”.

Ms Shortall said she believed the investigation needed to “go way beyond a Dáil inquiry” as the public wanted to see “findings of fact” and people from the banking and public sector “brought to book”.

Commission of inquiry
“I believe there is a need for a commission of inquiry to deal with this absolutely comprehensively and speedily, and I also think consideration should be given to the introduction of special powers . . . whatever powers are required to tackle this and bring people to book must be introduced,” she said.

Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan said he was unsure if a parliamentary inquiry was the best method of examining the matter.

“I remain to be convinced that the Dáil has the powers or any Dáil committee has the expertise to deal with what would be a very important engagement,” he said, adding that he intended to discuss the matter further with the Taoiseach.

Sinn Féin spokesman for finance Pearse Doherty TD said he believed “the most important inquiry is the criminal inquiry”.

Tribunal
He said he did not think a tribunal should be established to investigate the matter but that an Oireachtas investigation should begin without delay.

“There is no way we can make findings of fact and any inquiry that is set up will face the same scenario,” he said.

“What we need to do is put out all the other information so the public themselves can best determine what happened.”

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said an inquiry was urgently needed and that questions also needed to be asked about the progress made by gardaí and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in investigating the banks.

“We do not want to prejudice any future trial but, given that they have been working on the case for almost five years, the public have a right to know what legal outcomes we can expect from their work,” said Mr Ryan, who was a Government minister at the time of the bank guarantee and bailout.