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Why it's pretty unlikely Denis O'Brien will face the banking inquiry

One TD proposed that O’Brien should be called as a witness.

Get Health Summits Denis O'Brien Source: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A FIANNA FÁIL member of the banking inquiry has proposed that businessman Denis O’Brien be called as a witness in the coming months.

Michael McGrath is understood to have made the call during a private meeting of Oireachtas committee earlier this week. The Cork South-Central TD confirmed to RTÉ that he had formally written to the inquiry asking that the issue be considered.

McGrath argues that as a large commercial borrower from Irish banks, who has publicly expressed views about the manner in which borrowers were dealt with, O’Brien could provide “valuable evidence”.

O’Brien also previously served as a deputy governor of the Bank of Ireland between 2005 and 2006.

TheJournal.ie has learned that the prospect of O’Brien being called as a witness was raised when the committee was considering its witness list last year.

Michael McGrath Dail Scenes Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

However his name did not make the final list for written or oral submissions to the inquiry.

Following McGrath’s call, the matter is now likely to be considered again when the committee of 11 TDs and Senators meets privately on Tuesday.

However while all members are set to support the call it would likely run into legal difficulties given the recently-established Commission of Investigation into the way IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank, handled certain loans and dealt with clients, including O’Brien.

Sources on the inquiry have told TheJournal.ie that they believe that McGrath’s call is politically motivated given the recent controversy over O’Brien’s dealings with IBRC.

They also expressed doubts about whether the committee would have time to call O’Brien given its tight deadlines.

It’s expected to issue a final report into the causes of the Irish banking collapse in November.

Read: High Court refuses to completely lift injunction on RTÉ over Denis O’Brien story >

More: Watch Enda Kenny being asked if Fine Gael is too close to Denis O’Brien >

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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