Nyberg sees little need for banking inquiry in Ireland
Official in previous inquiry would be ‘surprised’ if anything new emerged
Peter Nyberg: said the proposed new Oireachtas inquiry could have other objectives. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
The Finnish government official who three years ago carried out an investigation into the Irish banking crisis has questioned the merits of a proposed new Oireachtas inquiry into the matter.
Mr Nyberg, a former director general of the financial markets division of the Finnish ministry of finance, headed the commission which carried out a nine-month investigation into the Irish banking sector which was published in 2011.
Speaking ahead of the fifth anniversary today of the blanket bank guarantee, he said there had already been a number of different reports into what caused the financial crisis in Ireland and he would be “pretty surprised” if the planned new Oireachtas process uncovered something new.
He said the proposed new Oireachtas inquiry could have other objectives such as allowing key decision-makers at the time of the banking crisis to tell their side of the story in public.
However, he said this would depend on the individuals concerned feeling comfortable about speaking in public .
In an interview with RTÉ’s This Week radio programme yesterday, Mr Nyberg said a decision was made very early on in the work of his commission into the banking sector that anyone who gave evidence would be guaranteed anonymity.
He said some people who were interviewed by the commission did bring along lawyers but were in general quite forthcoming and a lot of them dealt with difficult questions.
He had no quarrel with their co-operation with the commission but that “it was clear in several instances that the fact that they were pretty forthcoming was a result of them being guaranteed anonymity”.
“ That was why it was decided that no quotes and no names would be forthcoming.”
Asked whether he believed key individuals would be as forthcoming before a parliamentary inquiry which would be in public and where they could be quoted in the media, Mr Nyberg said: “I would not be very sure of that.”
Mr Nyberg also maintained that the recordings of conversations between senior executives at Anglo Irish Bank which were revealed in the recent publication of the “Anglo tapes” produced little that was new.
“I read the transcript, or part of it in transcript, in the newspapers. I hadn’t known that before and from what I read they provided very little additional evidence on anything . . . They did give a very lively and unpleasant feeling for the kind of hubristic company culture that existed in Anglo at the time. But other than that it didn’t seem that there was substantial new evidence or facts that came to light,” said Mr Nyberg.