Kenny considering re-running Oireachtas referendum

Thursday 28 January 2016 23.28
Mr Kenny said he accepts the work and findings of the Banking Inquiry were limited
Mr Kenny said he accepts the work and findings of the Banking Inquiry were limited

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he is considering re-running the referendum to strengthen the powers of Oireachtas committees to conduct public inquiries on foot of the outcome of the Banking Inquiry.

Mr Kenny said that he accepts that the work and the findings of the inquiry were limited and constrained by a lack of legal powers and authority.

He said that if similar inquiries are to be carried out in the future, then “whoever serves on them from the Oireachtas would actually have the constitutional and legal authority to carry out full and investigative inquiries in the way that they might have been able to do, had the referendum been carried.

“So I think that is an issue that I will be reflecting on.”

He was speaking after he addressed the Executive Council of the in Dublin this morning.

The Taoiseach said he did not accept the view of Professor Bill Black who said earlier that the final report of banking inquiry was “worse than useless because it bought into the fable that the banking collapse was just bad luck”.

Professor Black, of the University of Missouri, is an international expert in banking and financial regulation who gave evidence to the banking inquiry.

Lynch criticises ECB for lack of cooperation

Meanwhile, the chair of the Banking Inquiry Ciarán Lynch has criticised the European Central Bank for not cooperating with the inquiry.

During a Dáíl debate on its final report, the Labour TD said the ECB’s non-cooperation was in stark contrast to the European Commission and the IMF.

Fine Gael deputy Kieran O'Donnell also criticised the ECB, which he said had blocked imposing losses on senior bondholders, or top-level investors in November 2010 and again in 2011.

He said he wanted to see the remuneration of banking executives linked to the medium-term financial results of the banks, with the boards being made accountable.

Inquiry member Michael McGrath of Fianna Fáil said it remained his view a non-political inquiry would have been preferable to an Oireachtas inquiry.

He said committee members were not able to “tell the complete story” and had only been able to “scratch at the surface”.

As the inquiry did not hear testimony from people such as Irish Anglo Bank’s David Drumm and Sean FitzPatrick, it was "not a complete body of work," Mr McGrath said.

Mr McGrath said the actions of the ECB "undoubtedly added billions to the ultimate cost of rescuing the banking sector."

Stephen Donnelly calls for Minister Noonan to resign 

During his contribution to the debate, Social Democrat TD Stephen Donnelly called on the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to resign.

He accused Mr Noonan of deliberately misleading the Dáil on a matter of national importance.

Mr Donnelly was referring to the threat by the ECB to stop emergency liquidity funding to Ireland if it burned bondholders.

When the Wicklow TD asked Minister Noonan about this threat in the Dáil chamber in 2011, he was told by the minister there were no such threats.

Mr Noonan said at the time the ECB President Jean Claude Trichet was a "gentleman."

Mr Noonan would later tell the banking inquiry last year he had been told by Mr Trichet that a bomb would go off in Dublin if the bondholders were not paid.

Mr Donnelly was echoing comments he made on RTÉ's Today with Keelin Shanley.

Keywords: banking inquiry