No sense of ‘gotcha moment’ for Fianna Fáil in banking inquiry

Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen gave ‘strong and robust’ evidence, says Martin

Micheál Martin said his predecessors as Fianna Fáil leader, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, had given evidence that was “strong and robust and also matter of fact”. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill /The Irish Times

Micheál Martin said his predecessors as Fianna Fáil leader, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, had given evidence that was “strong and robust and also matter of fact”. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill /The Irish Times

 

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said there has been no sense of a damaging “gotcha moment” for his party in the banking inquiry so far.

Arriving at the MacGill Summer School in Donegal on Monday evening, Mr Martin said his predecessors as Fianna Fáil leader, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, had given evidence that was “strong and robust and also matter of fact”.

“The sense of the gotcha moment or conspiracy theories did not happen,” he said.

Mr Martin was responding to questions around Mr Ahern’s appearance at the inquiry last week and his interview with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio One at the weekend.

The former taoiseach was yesterday criticised for his comments casting doubt on the findings of the Mahon Tribunal against him.

Mr Martin dismissed the impact of Mr Ahern’s recent public appearances on Fianna Fáil.

“When the Government decided this form of inquiry they had a political objective in mind, what with Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s reference to the “axis of collusion”.

“In the fullness of time people are getting a more rounded version, people are making up their own mind in terms of the crash and the global dimensions of it,” he said.

Asked about comments by political strategist Frank Flannery that Fianna Fáil might go into a grand coalition with Fine Gael as a patriotic imperative, Mr Martin dismissed the suggestion.

“I think the people will decide who forms the next government. There will be lot of surprises.

It’s wide open and no particular party can say they will be the lead party,” he said.

On the question of political reform and governance Mr Martin said that an overarching parliamentary committee was required to review the regulators. He also said he backed former tánaiste Michael McDowell’s call for an independently elected Ceann Comhairle.

“If we want more scrutiny and less people following the herd and more contrarian voices we need a stronger parliament.

“Fianna Fáil is up for it now and up for it in the aftermath of the election.”