Chairman warns row could damage banking inquiry

Monday 09 June 2014 22.59
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There have been objections to the selection of Fianna Fáil's Marc MacSharry
There have been objections to the selection of Fianna Fáil's Marc MacSharry
Michael McGrath said the inquiry should not be delayed
Michael McGrath said the inquiry should not be delayed

The chair of the selection committee at the centre of a row that is delaying the banking inquiry has warned that the dispute could damage the work of the investigation.

The Government is objecting to the selection of a Fianna Fáil senator to serve on the inquiry.

Denis O'Donovan chairs the committee that chose Fianna Fáil's Marc MacSharry and independent Senator Sean Barrett.

Their selection put the Government in a minority on the banking inquiry and Fine Gael has objected to Senator MacSharry, amid claims of a conflict of interest.

The row began when a number of Labour senators, including the party's proposed nominee Susan O'Keeffe, missed the selection committee meeting.

This allowed Fianna Fáil to back Mr MacSharry, whose inclusion puts the Government in a minority on the proposed inquiry.

Today, Senator O'Donovan said the wrangle could damage the status of the inquiry and urged that it be resolved quickly.

He said his committee had done its work and there was no need to reconvene it.

The issue has been referred to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, which said it cannot examine the question of the Sligo-based senator until later this month.

The full Seanad has to approve the two names, but Government sources in the Upper House say they will block any motion that might be put forward seeking to endorse the selection of Senator MacSharry.

Fianna Fáil has insisted the meeting of the Banking Inquiry committee should go ahead on Wednesday.

The party's finance spokesperson, Michael McGrath, claimed the Government's handling of the wrangle over membership was turning the investigation into a "farce".

Mr McGrath said the inquiry should not be delayed because Fine Gael and Labour were not happy with the composition of the committee.