Banking inquiry report a ‘disservice to the Irish people’

Pearse Doherty declines to sign off on final report, calling it ‘incoherent and dysfunctional’

Sinn Féin  TD Pearse Doherty: Said  Oireachtas banking inquiry  report is a series of quotes from senior bankers, politicians and civil servants without any analysis or insight. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty: Said Oireachtas banking inquiry report is a series of quotes from senior bankers, politicians and civil servants without any analysis or insight. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The final report of the banking inquiry is a disservice to the Irish people, one of the members of the committee has said.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty, who did not sign off on the report, said it is a series of quotes from senior bankers, politicians and civil servants without any analysis or insight.

He said the defining narrative of the report is the rationalisation of what happened by the key players. “It was never the intention that you would take verbatim what people said before the inquiry.”

Mr Doherty said he did not believe any member of the committee would refer to this report as a good summary of the public hearings. It was incoherent and dysfunctional because of the delay in establishing the committee and the rush to have it complete before the general election.

Socialist TD Joe Higgins, who also declined to sign off on the report, issued his own minority report on the work by the committee in which he criticises the Fianna Fáil-led government elected in 2007 for serving the interests of bankers and developers at the expense of ordinary people.

He found Taoiseach Enda Kenny must also take responsibility for his role as a “silent non-opposition” during the economic crash.

In his findings Mr Higgins said the banks had excessive influence over the then government. Over-reliance on property-based taxes was a factor in the severity of the crash, and the soft landing theory was a “big lie”.

The Socialist TD said the Oireachtas committee’s approach meant “many painful symptoms of a disease were examined in great detail – but not so the root cause and source of the infection”.

“The majority of the members of the joint committee were not in the Oireachtas during the bubble, but they emanate from the same ideological pool and political parties that were – and therefore see no issue with the right granted to players in the markets to speculate and maximise profits to the limits of ‘what the market will bear’.”

Mr Higgins criticised the Oireachtas inquiries Act and insisted no other committee should conduct its work under this legislation.

He said those witnesses who were compelled to appear before the inquiry were shielded from the full force of what should have been a “rigorous and radical questioning”.

Line and tone

The other members defended the report, insisting it was the best they could have produced under the tight time constraints and the legal restrictions.

Chairman of the committee Ciarán Lynch said he was proud of the document.

Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath said it could have only ever scratched the surface of the crash due to court cases.

“It was deeply frustrating for us as members not to have delved into the Anglo story in far more detail, and those who were in charge of that institution could not come before us and give an account of their stewardship of the bank.”