Tánaiste hopes banking inquiry can start ‘within months’

‘The Government is anxious to have this banking inquiry set up as quickly as possible’

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said he hoped the long-awaited banking inquiry will start work within months.

It was confirmed after yesterday's Cabinet meeting that a new Oireachtas committee will be established in the next two weeks to preside over the inquiry.

This morning Mr Gilmore said the investigation was required to find out what happened and to allow Irish people move on.

“The Government is anxious to have this banking inquiry set up as quickly as possible. It is now in the hands of the Dáil, all of the parties in the Dáil,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.


“We want this inquiry to be an all-party inquiry, to be a parliamentary investigation and the Government will certainly co-operate in every way we can with the opposition in order to set this inquiry up,” he added.

He was unable to confirm if the inquiry would be running before the local and European elections at the end of May.

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe last night 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 this evening.

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.