Banking inquiry will examine ‘role of mass media’

Inquiry may call ECB officials and members of media organisations

The Dáil and Seanad are expected to debate the finalised terms of reference for the banking inquiry next month after the 11-member committee signed off on its proposed scope yesterday.

A number of additional amendments put forward by members were accepted by the whole committee yesterday, including one on the role of the media and another focusing on the European Central Bank.

Four modules

The inquiry will examine the period from 1992 to 2013, and will be broken into four modules: context; banking systems and practices; regulatory and supervisory systems and practices; and crisis management and policy responses. The final module will examine the bank guarantee, the establishment of Nama, bank nationalisation and recapitalisation, the bailout programme and the promissory notes.

The inquiry will also be entitled to call politicians, developers, bankers, auditors and civil servants, as well as officials from the ECB.

Earlier this week, ECB president Mario Draghi said the bank's governing council will discuss the question of Jean-Claude Trichet's appearance before the banking inquiry in the coming months.

Newspaper editors and other media executives may be called to give evidence to the inquiry after the committee agreed alterations to its final terms of reference.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins requested that an amendment be made to the inquiry's final submission on what it will cover in its forthcoming investigation.

Mr Higgins’s amendment, accepted by the committee, requested the inquiry examine “the development of a prevailing consensus including the role of mass media and advertising and mortgage brokers, financial consultants and property development and sales companies”.

Compelled to appear

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Higgins said “senior editors, financial controllers and board members of major media organisations can be compelled to appear before the committee” as it investigated what led to the banking crash.

"Some organisations did purchase property sales websites," the Dublin West TD added, in an apparent reference to The Irish Times and its acquisition of

Also speaking after the meeting, Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said he is satisfied the inquiry will not be a witch hunt against his party, adding the Oireachtas had to show it was able to carry out such investigations.

The inquiry’s final submission will now be sent to the Committees on Procedures and Privileges of both the Dáil and Seanad, and chairman Ciarán Lynch said the proposals should be debated in both houses by mid-October.