Doherty says banking inquiry needs general election date

Sinn Féin TD says that if Enda Kenny gave date, inquiry could set realistic deadline

 

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to name the date of the next general election to allow the Oireachtas banking inquiry complete its work.

Mr Doherty said the committee is still in a race against time to complete its work and publication of a final report is still not guaranteed.

The biggest challenge the inquiry faces is time, Mr Doherty said.

He said: “ One of the biggest challenges we face is we don’t know when the next general election is going to be called.

“If Enda Kenny told us now the general election would be called in mid-February then that would allow the team to set a realistic deadline to get it across the line. We are trying to second guess whether or not Enda Kenny is going to do (that).

Mr Doherty said if the Taoiseach made it clear the election was not to be held until the end of February or beginning of March the committee could seek an extension of time.

He said: “That would give us some comfort because at this point in time we only have a cover blanket of 24 hours which is hugely risky.”

Members met for four hours last night and agreed to extend the publication date until January 27th.

However the nine TDs and three Senators admitted the likelihood of producing a final report is becoming less certain by the day.

The new publication date brings a number of risks for the committee. The inquiry will now only have a 24 hour buffer if something potentially goes wrong.

The final report is said to be highly critical of the Fianna Fáil-led Government and to refer to a senior EU commissioner as a “chief bottlewasher”.

The committee agreed to re-write the 40 page executive summary after members claimed it was too political.

The full report is said to run up to 450 pages despite commitments it would be shorter and more focused.

The committee extended the amendment process until 6pm on Thursday, meaning members can recommend changes until that deadline.

A revised report will then be distributed to members on Friday.

The committee will work through the weekend and will meet again on Monday after the legal review has been complete.

It aims to have it distributed to interested parties by next week.

Members will then meet over the Christmas period and will be aiming to sign off on its finalised contents on New Year’s Eve.