The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee has said that an inquiry into the collapse of Ireland's banking sector could be completed in three months.

John McGuinness said this could happen if the Government makes the legislative changes it is calling for.

The Public Accounts Committee has published its framework for the inquiry, and is seeking the power to compel witnesses to attend.

PAC is also seeking cabinet confidentiality to be waived in relation to papers dealing with the bank guarantee.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, committee chair John McGuinness said that if the Government acts quickly, the committee could be holding public hearings as early as January next year.

He said "It would be an important piece of work that will inform legislation and indeed regulation for the future.”

Mr McGuinness said “we need to know from the central players in this just exactly what was and was not done, how decisions were reached and how they were influenced."

The committee has recommended an inquiry that would follow an "inquire, record and report model," but for legal reasons it will not be in a position to make findings of fact or culpability.

Mr McGuinness rejected the Minister for Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin's suggestion that it may be more appropriate for the Oireachtas Committee on Finance to address the issue.

He said Judge Hardiman's commentary on the Abbeylara judgement, saying it had its own work to do and providing that it was following the money it could continue in that work.

Mr McGuinness said "we're now dealing in €64bn in taxpayers money and I believe that it's quite clear, given that Brendan Howlin is our line minister and we are responsible to him.”

He said that there is no need to change the rules in this regard, saying "this is just a continuation of the normal work that the Public Accounts Committee would do week in and week out.”

The PAC chair said "we have a public reputation that was hard earned, and I believe that this is an unnecessary distraction at this stage and we should be dealing with the report with the approval of the Government."