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'Any money is too much': Banking inquiry will be as 'cost-efficient as possible'

Members of the inquiry will be discussing the issue at their meeting on Wednesday but chairperson Ciarán Lynch said any cost figures out there are merely speculative.

Image: Photocall Ireland

MEMBERS OF THE banking inquiry have said they will seek to minimise the costs of the inquiry as much as is possible, after reports suggested expenses could reach €5 million.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie today, chairperson of the inquiry, Labour TD Ciarán Lynch, said “what’s out there is speculative” and it is not possible to estimate what it will cost until the terms of reference have been decided.

“At every meeting – and there have been about four so far – the issue of cost has been something on the agenda,” he commented. “It’s one issue that members have been attentive to. We want to ensure the it’s done in the most cost-efficient and cost-effective way possible.”

Zero budget

Speaking about reports of a total cost of €5 millon, Fianna Fáil Senator Marc MacSharry, who is also a member of the inquiry, said he thinks “any money is too much”.

“Have a zero budget and then work back from there – that would be everyone’s budget,” he said.

The senator said he accepts that there have to be some expenses as certain experts have to be procured and spaces have to be set up for the media and the public.

One member said the €5 million figure was “misleading” as it includes costs of renovation to the Dáil which would facilitate other inquiries in the future.

We’re conscious of the fact that people will want to attend and so they have to make public facilities more accessible.

“The actual cost of the banking inquiry is about €3 million,” they said.

Unacceptable

The Irish Independent reported that some €80,000 is included in costs – just for chairs and desks and Senator Mac Sharry said some of the proposals for costs members have seen have been “prohibitively high”.

“I also wouldn’t like to see tribunalesque type fees going to barrister millionaires,” he said. “That just wouldn’t be acceptable”.

Mac Sharry added that there was an absolute consensus among members that they want to minimise costs.

The issue will be discussed at the next meeting of members this Wednesday, where they will also be looking at the terms of reference.

Read: The banking inquiry will ask leading economists to help figure out what it should investigate>

Read: ‘Ridiculous’: The banking inquiry won’t be able to discuss 30 minutes of a crucial Cabinet meeting>

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