Oireachtas banking inquiry committee may not report

Politicians on banking inquiry committee admit it is unlikely to issue a final report

Members of the Oireachtas banking inquiry believe there is a strong chance the committee will fail to produce a final report.

The committee will today meet to decide whether the initial report drafted by the investigation team can be salvaged or if a new report will have to be prepared.

Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy and Labour Senator Susan O’Keeffe are representing the members on a “finalisation team” aimed at rescuing the report.

TDs and Senators on the committee admitted it was highly unlikely the committee would issue a final report.


Rushed job

One TD said: “There is a 60:40 chance we won’t have a report and, even if we do, it will not be one we can all be proud of. It will be a rushed job. We need a month to get it right. We have two weeks. Best-case scenario, we publish a weak report. Worst-case scenario, we don’t publish a report at all.”

The committee has until December 1st to complete the report and distribute it to interested parties.

However, the meeting today will decide whether it can have an extra week and delay publication until January 26th, 2016.

Members were forced to put in place a new team aimed at finishing the report amid frustrations the initial one was fundamentally flawed.

Mr Murphy and Ms O'Keeffe are working with three legal representatives and the personal assistants of Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath and Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty. It is understood the initial report, written by the investigation team, made little or no reference to Anglo Irish Bank or Irish Nationwide Building Society in the chapter dealing with the bank guarantee. It also did not say whether the banks were solvent on the night the guarantee was agreed.


Members suggested publishing the transcripts of the meetings with findings and conclusions, but were warned this could be the subject of a legal challenge.

Speaking yesterday, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin denied it would be a waste of money if the inquiry could not report. "We have learned a lot already," he said. "In many ways it was a pathfinder of a committee on how we go about Oireachtas inquiries.

“It is something that is a matter of norm in other countries, for example in the United States or in Britain but they don’t have the constitutional restraints we do, nor the readiness of some to run to the courts at the drop of a hat.

“We have to live within the constitutional restraints, within the law,” Mr Howlin said.