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The role of former finance minister Brian Lenihan, who died in 2011, is likely to be scrutinised by the banking inquiry. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
here we go

Six years after the crash, the banking inquiry is FINALLY starting... soon

The inquiry is due to begin public hearings the week after next.

THE BANKING INQUIRY is to begin public hearings in less than two weeks’ time with one of the experts who carried out a report in to the banking collapse to be the first witness.

The first public hearings of the long-awaited Oireachtas investigation into the collapse of the Irish banking system will take on Wednesday, 17 December, it’s been confirmed today.

TDs and Senators on the inquiry had hoped the first public hearings could begin next week, but they must now wait until the following week with two days of hearings scheduled before the Dáil and Seanad rise for the Christmas break.

The first witness will be the Finnish academic Peter Nyberg whose report in 2011 found that the willingness of banks to issue high-value loans for risky commercial property  was a fundamental cause of the banking crash.

The following day, Rob Wright, the Canadian Secretary General of Finance, who wrote an independent report into how the Irish Department of Finance was run, will appear before the committee.

It’s understood that committee members had hoped to bring Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan in front of the inquiry before Christmas. But this will be delayed until the New Year with sources on the inquiry expressing frustration at this delay earlier today.

Extra assistance

There have already been widely-expressed concerns that the committee will not have enough time to probe the causes of the crash as it must complete its work before the current Dáil term ends.

Committee chairman Ciarán Lynch has said the inquiry will issue a final report in November 2015, but ongoing speculation about an early general election could force that date to be brought forward.

In a statement this evening, Lynch said: “I understand that people have waited a long time for this inquiry to be established, but it is necessary to understand that this is the first inquiry of its type to take place under new legislation. Therefore, the onus is on us to make sure we get everything right from the start.”

Separately the seven TDs and four senators serving on the inquiry are to be allocated an extra parliamentary assistant each to help with their increased workload in the coming months.

Similar extra assistance was provided for previous parliamentary inquiries including the DIRT inquiry and the Abbeylara Inquiry.

The seven TDs on the inquiry are Labour deputy and chairman Lynch, Fine Gael’s Kieran O’Donnell, John Paul-Phelan and Eoghan Murphy; Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath; Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty; and Socialist Joe Higgins.

The four senators on the inquiry are Michael D’Arcy (Fine Gael), Susan O’Keeffe (Labour), Sean Barrett (independent) and Marc MacSharry (Fianna Fáil).

The ECB has more or less said: ‘We’re not going to Dublin, you can forget about it’

30 Days in September: An Oral History of the Bank Guarantee

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