Former taoiseach Brian Cowen called to banking inquiry

Charlie McCreevy among others who received letters from Oireachtas committee

The Oireachtas Banking Inquiry has called former Taoiseach Brian Cowen to give evidence to the committee as part of the next phase of its hearings.

Mr Cowen, who was Taoiseach when the financial crisis blew up in 2008, is one of 14 witnesses sent a letter today by the inquiry asking them to appear before the committee.

No date has been set for their appearances but The Irish Times understands it is likely to be in July.

Others receiving notification today include the former minister for finance and ex European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy; Liam O'Reilly, a former financial regulator; Kevin Cardiff, a former secretary general of the department of finance who currently holds a senior role with the European Court of Auditors, and David Doyle, who headed the department of finance at the time of the crisis.


Derek Moran, the current secretary general of the department of finance, has also been sent a letter, along with his predecessor, John Moran, who left the post last year.

In addition, Central Bank of Ireland governor Patrick Honohan has been asked to re-appear before the committee. Cyril Roux, who currently heads up financial regulation at the Central Bank, and his immediate predecessor, Englishman Matthew Elderfield, who now has a senior position with Lloyds Banking Group in the UK, are also on the list of those called.

These appearances will be part of the Nexus phase of the committee’s hearings. These will relate to three elements of the crisis: banking systems and practices; regulatory and supervisory systems and practices; and crisis management.

The Nexus phase will run from April 22nd until the middle of September with a total of 64 public hearings planned. About 60 witnesses will be called during this phase.”

“This phase of our hearings will include a move to compelling witnesses and statements and the use of evidence,” chairman Ciarán Lynch said.

“Under the witness management protocol, there will be a structured engagement with a seven week lead-in between the notification and the public hearing. The protocol includes timescales, evidence books and technical briefings.”

The Committee also agreed a process of engagement with the European Central Bank that will entail a dual approach of "separate but complimentary meetings" with former president Jean-Claude Trichet and current ECB deputy president Vítor Constâncio.

Mr Lynch said: “Mr Trichet will be addressing a meeting of the IIEA in a personal capacity on April 30th (in Dublin). The Committee is now working as to how it can engage with Mr Trichet in an opportunity for us to use this engagement as evidence in our inquiry.

“Web-casting or live streaming of the event and questions and answers session, in addition to a written transcript will also be provided.”

Mr Lynch said it would be willing to discuss with Mr Trichet, in advance, its lines of inquiry.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times