Fingleton’s advocacy skills under pressure at INBS inquiry

Former chief executive’s line of questioning halted over insufficient notice of document

One-time Irish Nationwide Building Society chief executive Michael Fingleton's advocacy skills came under pressure early in his cross-examination of Darragh Daly, the first witness to give evidence to the inquiry into the lender's demise.

Fingleton is representing himself at the Central Bank inquiry, which is looking at how he and three other of the former building society's executives did their jobs in the run-up to the financial crash in 2008. The lender effectively folded the following year.

Daly was head of Irish Nationwide’s credit risk department and says that the building society’s credit committee did not review commercial loans that had fallen into arrears, and only dealt with applications for new advances.

Shortly after Fingleton began quizzing Daly on Wednesday, inquiry chair solicitor Marian Shanley halted one line of questioning because he had not given proper notice of the document on which he wanted to base that part of his examination.


Stop interrupting

Not long afterwards, one of the inquiry’s lawyers stepped in to object to the fact that Fingleton was interrupting Daly and not letting the witness give complete answers to his questions.

Shanley agreed and instructed Fingleton to stop interrupting, although she acknowledged she had given him some leeway on the basis this was his “first engagement” with a witness. For his part, Fingleton agreed to follow the chair’s instructions.

Fingleton resumes his cross-examination on Thursday and will presumably have given the inquiry notice of the documents he wants scrutinised. He has also indicated that he could take most, if not all, of the day to question Daly. There could yet be some robust exchanges.