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State of the Nation

We're FINALLY set to get answers from the ECB about the banking collapse

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

The banking inquiry enters its ‘Nexus Phase’ today, with Frank Daly and Brendan McDonagh, the chair and CEO of NAMA, appearing over the course of two sittings.

Germany Europe Financial Crisis Jean Claude Trichet AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

No doubt, the pair will have some interesting insights into how the banking collapse was handled. However, attention is already turning to the questioning of another key player.

Former European Central Bank (ECB) President Jean Claude Trichet will engage with the inquiry next week – although in a different way to all other witnesses.

Banking committee members will question Trichet in two 45-minute sessions - about the events that led to Ireland’s bailout programme and the bank guarantee, at a conference organised by the Irish Institute for International and European Affairs on Thursday 30 April.

Labour Party Election Campaigns Ciaran Lynch

Committee chair Ciaran Lynch told this morning: “The importance of engaging with Mr Trichet is that it provides an opportunity for the inquiry to obtain evidence that will inform its final report.”

Lynch said meeting Trichet is one of a number of routes the committee is taking to “provide the public with the fullest picture” of what happened in the run-up to, and aftermath of, the banking collapse. He rightly pointed out that “many pieces of the jigsaw” are still missing.

The Labour TD admitted he would have preferred to question Trichet in Leinster House, but said this was “never” going to happen. The ECB has continually said it is “not in a position to participate in inquiries conducted by national parliaments” as it is accountable to European institutions.

The agenda

  • Jan O’Sullivan will be answering education-related questions in the Dáil at 9.30am
  • Frank Daly and Brendan McDonagh, the chair and CEO of NAMA, will appear before the banking inquiry at 9.30am, at again at 2.30pm
  • The foreign affairs committee will discuss several issues from 10am onwards, including the recent migrant tragedy off the coast of Libya and the detention of Ibrahim Halawa in Egypt.
  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be in the firing line during Leaders’ Questions at noon
  • Peter Cassells, chair of the expert group on future funding for higher education, and representatives from the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) will be questioned by the education committee at 1pm about higher education funding and reform of the student grant system. 
  • David Duffy, CEO of Allied Irish Bank, will appear before the finance committee at 2pm. He’s expected to say the bank’s variable mortgage rates can’t be cut. 
  • TDs will debate two bills from 2.39pm onwards – one aimed at providing free GP care for over 70s, and one that will establish a Legal Services Regulatory Authority.
  • A Fianna Fáil-proposed motion on providing extra supports for SMEs will be be debated from 7.30pm until 9pm. 

What the others are saying

  • Several papers report that the lawyer for former Justice Minister Alan Shatter told the High Court his client was not given a chance to respond to the Guerin inquiry into handling of claims by garda whistleblowers. 
  • Fianna Fáil is set to launch a number of childcare-related proposals at its Ard Fheis this weekend, including tax credits for working parents, according to the Irish Examiner
  • The Irish Independent reports that Fianna Fáil councillor and former minister Mary Hanafin has said the party “stands for nothing”. 

Inside Leinster House

summer suit Bernard Durkan

After much speculation, it was confirmed summer has arrived early.

In case you missed it 

On the Twitter machine

There was a lot of buzz about Catherine Murphy’s highly-redacted FOI documents about the IBRC sale of SiteServ.

Originally published: 9am

Read: Are these two men fighting the real battle of the next election?

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