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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 22 October, 2014

Experts helping the banking inquiry figure out what to investigate deliver interim report

The final report will help members determine how the inquiry model is going to work.

Leading commenter and economist Colm McCarthy
Leading commenter and economist Colm McCarthy
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE AD-HOC group of technical experts tasked to help the Banking Inquiry Committee with their investigation into the banking crisis delivered their interim report today.

The group were established to provide expert knowledge and input to the committee in developing a relevant proposal for the inquiry.

The group are made up of experts in their field of economics and finance include:

  • Leading economist and commentator Colm McCarthy
  • Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy
  • Pat Casey, principal officer at the Department of finance
  • Paul Gorecki, adjunct professor of economics at Trinity
  • Megan Greene, Maverick Intelligence
  • Cathal Guimard, economist and former Irish aviation commissioner
  • Conor McCabe, research fellow at UCD School of Social Justice
  • Rafique Mottiar, consultant economist at the Central Bank
  • John Shaw, assistant secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach

Possible framework

Their report provides a possible framework for the inquiry and draws on questions raised by members of the Committee and by members of the group, which mainly center around banking systems; regulatory and supervisory systems; and crisis management systems and policy response.

It also contains an outline inquiry plan which sets out the three distinct phases to be covered in the time available:

  1. Initial investigation
  2. Public hearings
  3. Reporting.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath said that the advisory group had done an excellent job in a very short period of time and “brought forward document that will form the basis of the future decisions we make about the inquiry”.

Flesh out 

McGrath said while the work of the committee at present is “tedious in nature” this report will help the members “flesh out how the inquiry model is going to work”.

He said that progress is being made, adding that the mid-September deadline was “challenging” for the group to deliver a more detailed design of the inquiry.

McGrath said that the next step will be for all committee members to agree on the terms of reference for the inquiry.

When asked if he thought there would be consensus among members he said that this was “a major challenge, one we have to face up to our responsibilities on,” adding they had been tasked to work together and agree to the conditions to move the inquiry forward.

He said the document the advisory group delivered “pulls together various strands” of what each committee member wanted.

“Each of us have had the opportunity to set out our own views of what we would like included in the inquiry,” he said, stating that the ad-hoc group had taken all these on board and pulled them together.

McGrath added that it was “ambitious and challenging” but that now they will be getting down to the “nitty gritty” of making decisions.

Not finished

Chairman of the committee Ciaran Lynch said that the ad-hoc had done a good job but that the report was “not finished product”. He said the report will ultimately “get the comittee closer to agreeing to the terms of reference and that the expert report will  help “refine that process”.

“The key thing here is what the inquiry will have to be comprehensible and measurably and ultimately have to have recommendation and finding at the end of it that have a value to what happened then and so that the same mistakes aren’t made in the future,” said Lynch.

The committee thanked the ad-hoc advisory group who carried out the work on a pro-bono basis.

The group will now work on progressing a more detailed design of the inquiry concept with a view to presenting a further progressed proposal to the Committee in September.

The aim is to have a relevant proposal for the inquiry ready for submission to the CPPs of both Houses.

Read: ‘Any money is too much’: Banking inquiry will be as ‘cost-efficient as possible’>

Read: Stephen Donnelly: Nobody takes the Dáil seriously… including TDs>

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