Kenny accused of ‘tampering’ in committee row

Fine Gael urges Fianna Fáil to ‘rest easy’ and matter would be resolved ‘in due course’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photograph: Alan Betson

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photograph: Alan Betson


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been accused of “tampering” with the democratic process in the ongoing row over membership of the committee to investigate the banking crisis.

Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry made the claim in the Seanad yesterday following Mr Kenny’s remarks to the Dáil on Tuesday that the Government needed a majority on the committee for the inquiry’s terms of reference to be agreed and for its mandate to be adopted.

Mr MacSharry said “whether it’s a case that he dropped the ball with loose language yesterday or whether it is, in fact, an underhand and sinister attempt to manipulate the democratic process”, the Taoiseach should answer questions in the Seanad, but his call was rejected by 23 votes to 14.

Two of the committee’s nine members will be from the Seanad.

The Government had expected to have a majority but, when the committee of selection met just one of three Labour members attended and, instead of Labour’s nominee being selected, the committee voted for Mr MacSharry and Independent Sean Barrett.

Perception of bias

The issue was considered yesterday by the Seanad Committee on Procedure and Privileges (CPP).

In a statement, the committee said that once the terms of reference resolution was passed setting out the subject matter of the proposed inquiry, the banking committee would have a role in determining whether a perception of bias arose in relation to an individual member.

“This function can be invoked by either the individual member in question or by virtue of a complaint received by the CPP from any person.

“Any such decision will be based on the evidence submitted to the CPP and in line with the procedures as set out in Standing Orders.

“The final decision as to whether a perception of bias might arise in relation to an individual member rests with the House in question,” said the statement.