Banking inquiry committee holds first meeting

Friday 20 June 2014 08.19
Ciarán Lynch is chairman of the inquiry committee
Ciarán Lynch is chairman of the inquiry committee

The Joint Oireachtas Committee that is to look into the banking crisis held its first meeting today.

The committee's 11 members met in private to discuss how it will proceed in preparing a plan and terms of reference for the inquiry.

It came after two weeks of controversy over the make-up of the banking inquiry and in particular the Government's majority on it.

The seven TDs and four senators were expected to discuss the process of setting out the inquiry's scope, duration, format and also necessary resources.

The committee is expected to present the plan to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges (CPP) for approval when the Dáil resumes in the autumn.

It will then go before both Houses. At the same time, the CPP will also have to deal with the issue of bias in terms of the members.

The inquiry will then start gathering and analysing information.

It is expected that oral hearings will be held next spring.

There is speculation that its final report could be published in the autumn of next year.

The whip has been removed in relation to the Government members.

Chairman of the inquiry Ciarán Lynch has said it will be a test of the committee that its work and the final report are fair and balanced.

Economist Colm McCarthy has said the banking inquiry should look at what went wrong inside each individual bank if lessons are to be learned to ensure a stable system in the future.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today With Sean O'Rourke, Mr McCarthy said every single bank in Ireland got into serious trouble during the crisis by making foolish loans that were not repaid.

There has not yet been an explanation "bank by bank" of what exactly was going on, he said.

To date the banking inquiry had been a bit party political, he said, which was "pointless". Mr McCarthy said in a sense accountability at a political level had already been dealt with at the last General Election.

What had not been dealt with, he said, was accountability for the mismanagement of each individual bank, the failures at the level of regulation and what appears to have been a lack of preparedness at the Department of Finance.

Mr McCarthy said banking legislation would have to be revised in light of the findings of the inquiry if that seems to be necessary.

Keywords: banking inquiry