Long-awaited banking inquiry to get under way

Announcement about nature and scope of committee to be made within two weeks

Fine Gael TD Paul Kehoe

Fine Gael TD Paul Kehoe


A new Oireachtas committee will be established in the next two weeks to preside over the long-awaited banking inquiry.

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe tonight met the whips of the Opposition parties to present them with a proposed set of standing orders for the new committee.

These standing orders will be discussed by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges tomorrow evening.

An announcement about the nature and scope of the committee will be made within two weeks.

It is understood one of the key elements of the standing orders will be a requirement that no member of the committee should have made any public comments about the banking crisis that could be regarded as biased.

This requirement will mean that many prominent political figures who have made trenchant speeches about the banking crisis will not be eligible to serve.

Government sources said no decision had been made as to whether the new committee will be composed of TDs and Senators or whether it will be restricted to TDs.

However, the indications are that the Government favours the establishment of a small committee composed of around six TDs to handle the complex issues involved in the banking inquiry.

The sub-committee of the public accounts committee that inquired into the Dirt tax scandal in 1999, chaired by the late Jim Mitchell, has been widely cited as a template for the banking inquiry.

The then attorney general David Byrne pointed out that an essential element of the Dirt committee’s success was that it operated to a strict set of parameters laid down by his office, which prohibited findings relating to the responsibility of individuals.

That committee concluded its business in 26 days and issued a comprehensive report within a few months.