Bertie Ahern the biggest online draw of banking inquiry

Just over 7,000 people watch ex-taoiseach issue something of an apology for role in collapse

 Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern leaving the Oireachtas banking inquiry on July 16th, 2015. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern leaving the Oireachtas banking inquiry on July 16th, 2015. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern proved to be the biggest draw at the recently concluded Oireachtas banking inquiry - with his appearance in mid-July drawing more viewers to a live video stream of proceedings than any other.

Just over 7,000 people visited the live streaming section of the Oireachtas website on July 16th when Mr Ahern made his much-anticipated appearance.

They logged on to watch him issuing something akin to an apology for his role in the State’s economic collapse, as well detailing his achievements both as minister for finance and taoiseach.

Autobiography extracts

During his appearance, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty pointed out that Mr Ahern had read extracts from his own 2009 autobiography as part of his evidence.

Mr Ahern’s appearance attracted 7,052 visitors to the Oireachtas site, compared to an average day when the inquiry attracted some 5,500 viewers.

All told, the committee heard evidence from 128 witnesses over the course of 304 hours and 13 minutes, spread over 49 days starting from last December.

It featured evidence from many of the bankers at the heart of the economic collapse, as well as an array of politicians, economists, journalists and mandarins from Ireland and overseas.

Footage embedded

The website set up to broadcast proceedings received some 280,000 page views, with just under one million views of the live stream. Most of those views came from websites such as The Irish Times and RTÉ, which embedded footage within news stories on the proceedings.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of visits to the website came from the Republic (81 per cent) with a further 7 per cent coming from the UK and 3 per cent from the US.

There was 0.75 per cent - or just over 2,000 page views - which came from Belgium, with most of those views presumably coming from its capital, Brussels.

Apart from the attraction of the live video stream, access to reams of documentation has also been tracked.

There were 948 page views of the costs of the inquiry. By the end of July they had risen to €3.5 million.