Banking inquiry: Members scramble to salvage report

Doherty tells committee he won’t sign document due to lack of answers about crash causes

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has told the Oireachtas banking inquiry he will not sign off on its final report. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has told the Oireachtas banking inquiry he will not sign off on its final report. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times.

 

Oireachtas banking inquiry members are continuing to work on way to prevent the collapse of the investigation after Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty told the committee will not sign off on its final report.

Members of the inquiry are still meeting in an attempt to finalise their draft report as the deadline for its publications nears.

Mr Doherty told the panel of TDs and Senators on Sunday morning he would not be able to agree with the contents of their report, which comes after members heard 413 hours of testimony and received 42,000 documents about the State’s financial collapse.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Doherty said the report had huge gaps and failed to identify the causes of the crash. He said there was nothing in the report to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.

Mr Doherty insisted he would continue to work with the rest of the committee to complete its report.

In a statement, he added: “When I agreed to take part in the banking inquiry, foremost in my mind were the people who have lost their homes and businesses, the cuts inflicted on our public services and the generation forced into emigration because of the banking crisis.”

He said he had worked constructively on the inquiry to get to the full truth of what happened and, while the report includes new information, it “fails to fully answer the questions regarding how the crisis came about and who was responsible”.

“Our people deserve the full truth. That is why I am unable to not sign off on the committee report.”

Committe member and Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy said he was disappointed at the decision.

Socialist TD Joe Higgins has also confirmed he will not sign off on the report and it is understood a number of other members are also concerned about the quality of the report.

The inquiry, chaired by Labour TD Ciarán Lynch, had hoped to complete work on a draft report before the weekend. A number of members were known to be unhappy about aspects of the report and reluctant to sign off on it.

A source said Sunday was “not an absolute cut off point” but would ideally be the day the issues were resolved with a view to the material the committee comes up with being sent to a senior counsel tomorrow for legal vetting.

The inquiry was established under the Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013 which places very tight restrictions on the type of findings the members can make.

Anyone named in the draft report will then be contacted and given a period of time, originally envisaged as two weeks, to respond.

The committee must publish its findings before the Dáil is dissolved ahead of the general election, and last week agreed to extend the publication date until January 27th.