The Government has agreed to widen the scope for the Commission of Investigation into the banking crisis.

The period to be examined will now extend from 1 January 2003 to 15 January 2009 for the Commission's examination of those banks that are covered by the Government's guarantee.

This follows Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan's meeting with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service.

The commission can now examine matters relating to corporate governance and risk management in each of the banks covered by the Government's guarantee, up to the date of the Government's decision to nationalise Anglo Irish Bank on 15 January 2009.

The Government has also approved to refer to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service the policy lessons arising from the preliminary reports into the banking crisis conducted by Klaus Regling and Max Watson.

The start date for the proposed commission of inquiry, 2003, is the same as that of Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan's inquiry, which was chosen as this was when the Financial Regulator came into being.

The Regling-Watson report had no start date - it was free to delve back beyond 2003 to paint a picture of the evolution of the Irish economy and banking system, which it did.

More significant is the extention of the inquiry period forward to 15 Jan 2009, the day on which Anglo Irish was nationalised.

This means the second phase inquiry will break new ground, as it will cover not just the events leading up to the nationalisation, but also issues such as the back-to-back loans at Anglo Irish Bank, and when the various agencies and officials knew of them, and at what point the State changed its view that the banking crisis was one of solvency, rather than liquidity.