Labour TD Ciaran Lynch is strong favourite to chair banking inquiry

Intensive meetings involving senior Government members, the Oireachtas and committees tendering to hold the inquiry

Ciaran Lynch: chairman of the Oireachtas finance committee

Ciaran Lynch: chairman of the Oireachtas finance committee


Labour TD Ciarán Lynch has emerged as the strong favourite to chair the Oireachtas inquiry into the banking crisis which is expected to begin early next year.

An intensive round of meetings involving senior members of the Government, the Oireachtas and the committees tendering to hold the inquiry has taken place over the past few weeks.

Mr Lynch, who is chair of the Oireachtas finance committee, has met a range of senior political figures and is understood to have convinced them that his committee is the best equipped to handle the inquiry. The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee John McGuinness has also made a strong claim for his committee while the Committee on Investigations and Oversight has also made a bid.

While a formal decision has yet to be made there is strong support in Government for the proposal to entrust the inquiry to a sub-committee of the Oireachtas finance committee to be chaired by Mr Lynch. A decision will be made in the next few weeks.

It is expected that Mr Lynch will chair a sub-committee of four or five senior politicians to examine the events surrounding the decision of the Fianna Fáil-led government to introduce the bank guarantee in September 2008.

The then taoiseach Brian Cowen has said publicly that he was more than willing to give evidence to a tribunal into the banking collapse and the current Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, who was a member of that government, has also said he would like to give evidence to an inquiry.

One of the requirements for members of the sub-committee will be that they have not made pronouncements on the banking crisis which could leave them open to accusations of prejudice.

The inquiry will be held under the terms of the Oireachtas Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures Act 2013 which was piloted through the Dáil and Seanad by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin before the summer break.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil when it resumed in September that it was the view of the Government that the first inquiry under its terms should be into the banking crisis.

He said such an inquiry should be “modular in nature” and that it should focus on three areas: the bank guarantee and the events leading up to it; the role of the banks and their auditors; and the role of State institutions.

He said it was his “earnest hope” that the responsibilities conferred on TDs who participate in such an inquiry will be “exercised prudently and judiciously, having regard to pending criminal trials”.

“The objective should be to determine, without fear or favour, and with dispassion and integrity, all of the facts that led to the collapse of the banking sector,” Mr Kenny added.