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Is the banking inquiry on the verge of collapse?

Members are torn on whether former Anglo chief David Drumm should be allowed give evidence by video link.

File Photo Former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank David Drumm has ruled out returning to Ireland from the United States to give evidence to the banking inquiry. However, Mr Drumm said he would be willing to give evidence via video link. Source: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland!

CONTROVERSY IS BREWING in the banking inquiry with members torn over ex-Anglo boss David Drumm giving evidence over video link.

However the Chair of the Banking Inquiry Ciaran Lynch denies that it is on the verge of collapse.

The Sunday Business Post reports today that a number of TDs will walk out if the former Anglo chief gives evidence by conference video link.

Why are people uncomfortable?

Some members have been vocal in expressing their discomfort that government officials would facilitate Drumm despite him flouting the Irish authorities.

A file on David Drumm was given to the Director of Public Prosecutions by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in 2011.

However Drumm refuses to cooperate with gardaí and will not return to Ireland for questioning.

Speaking to Shane Coleman on Newstalk’s The Sunday Show, he said:

It’s a cross party committee: it has people who are part of political parties and people who come from none… There will always be different positions, but what we have done to date is work as a team.

When asked about the discomfort of some members about Drumm giving evidence to the inquiry he said full legal advice is taken on matters like this before any decision is made.

shutterstock_83332261 Source: Shutterstock/Hadrian

Give evidence by video link

He said Drumm gave a written statement to the inquiry two weeks ago in which he specified he would be available by video link.

Lynch said before a decision is made one way or another, all members should attend the meeting on Tuesday where all concerns on the matter can be raised.

“I’ve asked members to leave their club jerseys at the door, and I’ll be sure when we hold a meeting that that position will be repeated,” he added.

8/7/2015 Banking Inquiries Ciaran Lynch Source: Leah Farrell

He said it is “crucial” the work of the committee gets done.

Lynch said it owes it to the Irish public to ensure their final report prevents any future crisis being revisited on the nation.

Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath and Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy have both said they are extremely concerned at the direction the committee is taking.

Speaking on Marian Finucane yesterday, McGrath said it was “just not acceptable” to him. He said he felt very strongly that no such video link should be provided.

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has already said David Drumm should cooperate fully with the Banking Inquiry.

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In ‘two minds’ if Drumm should be allowed

Speaking on RTÉ’s Marian Finucane Show this morning, the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said he had been in “two minds” about Drumm giving evidence until he heard from broadcaster Eamon Dunphy, who was also on the panel with him.

Dunphy said it was a “no-brainer” that Drumm should not be allowed give evidence before the inquiry.

He said that anything the banker has to say would be merely speculative and “hearsay”.

“We can’t have a society that deals with a guy like that on an ad hoc basis,” said Dunphy.

“I was between two minds until I heard what Eamon said,” said Varadkar.

The minister said he had thought he would like to hear what Drumm had to say.

However he agreed the inquiry should not be dealing with a man the authorities are trying to extradite back to Ireland.

“What Eamon said is correct, “said Varadkar.

The health minister said the matter is up the members of the banking inquiry and that government would not be advising them on the matter.

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