Friday 30 September 2016

Banking Inquiry: Independent investigation clears Oireachtas investigators

Published 03/09/2015 | 19:46

Labour TD Ciaran Lynch heads up the banking inquiry Photo: Tom Burke.
Labour TD Ciaran Lynch heads up the banking inquiry Photo: Tom Burke.

The independent inquiry investigating allegations of wrongdoing surrounding the Banking Inquiry has 'vindicated' the Oireachtas committee’s investigation team, Independent.ie has learned.

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The Oireachtas appointed a barrister to investigate a series of allegations raised by a whistleblower who was hired by the Oireachtas inquiry.

The allegations included claims of conflicts of interest and preferential treatment given to some witnesses who appeared before the inquiry chaired by Labour TD Ciaran Lynch.

There were also allegations surrounding the redaction of crucial information in documents compiled by the investigation team and supplied to the inquiry.

Barrister Senan Allen, who was appointed to investigate the claims, gave his report to the acting clerk Dáil Peter Finnegan yesterday.

Independent.ie understands the key finding of the report is that the Banking Inquiry investigation team has been “vindicated” and Mr Allen has not recommended any further action.

“The key finding is the investigation team is in the clear and there will be no further action necessary,” a source said.

Fianna Fail Senator Marc MacSharry criticised the investigation established by the Oireachtas on foot of the whistleblower’s complaints.

The whistleblower, who made their claims using protected disclosure legislation, also criticised the investigation when it was set up.

They claimed the terms of reference did not deal with the substantive issues raised in the disclosure submitted to Oireachtas authorities.

The whistleblower claims there were improper off-the-record telephone calls between witnesses and investigators. 

They also claimed there was inappropriate pressure put on the investigation team to exclude some documentation from the inquiry’s evidence.

There was also criticism levelled at the amount of information supplied to the inquiry by certain institutions under investigation.

The Oireachtas threatened to suspend the whistleblower but later decided against the move.

The whistleblower has not worked for the inquiry since the allegations were raised in March.

Senator Marc Macsharry said this evening: "I've seen no report though we were informed it was to be circulated to relevant parties for consideration. As is known I have had serious concerns about the whole affair from the beginning. 

"What from the beginning appeared to me to be a quasi independent Oireachtas service led investigation is not sufficient in my view. It is essential  that all relevant parties have been interviewed and that all leads assessed independently."

Some Banking Inquiry members who were not told about the allegations until July criticised their colleagues who knew about the claims when they were first raised.

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