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'Too early' to rule Anglo out of banking inquiry says committee chair

Oireachtas Finance Committee Chairman Ciarán Lynch said that legal advice would be taken ahead of any inquiry.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

IT’S ‘TOO EARLY’ to talk about excluding Anglo Irish Bank from an inquiry into the banking crisis according to the Oireachtas Finance Committee chair Ciarán Lynch.

Lynch told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme today that, “it’s too early to rule anything in or rule anything out” . He added however that the promised inquiry would only proceed after legal advice.

“The inquiry should not find itself in conflict with anything before the courts,” he said. “I’d expect it would be structured in that regard.”

Former Anglo executives Seán FitzPatrick, Wille McAteer and Pat Whelan are all facing trial in connection with their actions at the defunct bank.

Lynch said there will be a special meeting of finance committee next week to discuss the proposal for an inquiry.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil yesterday that the motion to establish the inquiry will be proposed this week, but the question of exactly who will carry it out is still a matter for debate. The Public Accounts Committee and the Oireachtas Finance Committee are both vying for the chance to hold the long-awaited investigation with Lynch arguing that the finance committee has the edge because it is set up to deal with such matters:

The situation with the finance committee is that precedent has shown that that committee is structured to deal with Department of Finance and the Central Bank.

It’s been ” a number of years” since the Public Accounts Committee undertook such an inquiry he said.

The decision on who carries out the inquiry and what exactly it investigates will ultimately be decided by the Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges.

Whoever carries out the inquiry it will have a ‘very, very broad scope investigation’ according to Lynch who says it will have powers to compel people to attend as well as the power to sanction. TDs also will face consequences for non-cooperation he said:

It will have procedures to remove TDs who may be operating in a manner that may be undermining the committee’s investigation.

Read: “Hurry up with the banking inquiry”, Sinn Féin tells Taoiseach >

Read: Anglo Tapes: ‘If Central Bank did have access to contents, what the hell was it doing?’ – McDonald >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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