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'Anglo tapes show need for banking inquiry' - man who wants to run inquiry

Ciarán Lynch, the chair of the Oireachtas finance committee, says the tapes may be “the tip of the iceberg”.

Labour TD Ciarán Lynch, the chairman of the Oireachtas finance committee, is keen to get the chance to lead a banking inquiry.
Labour TD Ciarán Lynch, the chairman of the Oireachtas finance committee, is keen to get the chance to lead a banking inquiry.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE MAN WHO wants to be put in charge of the Oireachtas’ banking inquiry has said the disclosures in the Anglo Tapes further underline the urgent need for an inquiry to take place.

Ciarán Lynch, the Labour TD who chairs the Oireachtas committee on finance, said the tapes published by the Irish Independent today were “proof positive” that a public investigation was warranted.

The tapes published by the Irish Independent revealed how two executives at the bank discussed deliberately understating the extent of Anglo’s financial problems – telling the State that the bank would need a €7 billion recapitalisation when they knew that much more would be needed.

The tactics discussed by John Bowe and Peter FitzGerald indicated that Anglo believed the State would have to make further investments in order to safeguard its original €7 billion – whereas if the full extent of Anglo’s problems was revealed early, the State may have let the bank collapse.

“We urgently need an inquiry to shine a light on the circumstances around the collapse of the bank and the introduction of the bank guarantee in September 2008,” Lynch said in a statement this evening.

“The information that has come into the public domain today may be just the tip of the iceberg, and any other information from that period, whether it exists in hard copy or stored electronically, should be made available in full to such an inquiry.”

Lynch said it was evident that the public deserved a full explanation of the circumstances that led to the ill-fated bank guarantee being introduced in September 2008 – less than a fortnight after the recorded telephone conversation revealed today.

Legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas provides a legal basis under which politicians can undertake a public inquiry – with individual Oireachtas committees putting together a written pitch stating how long their inquiry would take and the resources needed to carry it out.

A final decision would then be made by the Oireachtas authorities – meaning it is up to individual committees to compete for the right to hold the inquiry.

Both Lynch’s committee and the Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness, have staked their claim for the right to host an Oireachtas banking inquiry.

“Any such inquiry should be very specific in its terms of reference, should operate within a very specific time period and should not be left open-ended,” Lynch said this evening.

“It would also be necessary that it would be appropriately resourced and supported.”

Read: The Anglo Tapes: 9 jaw-dropping quotes from before the bailout

More: TDs at odds over claims government sought to undermine McGuinness

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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