Inquiry to take secret testimony through website
THE forthcoming banking inquiry will take submissions from whistleblowers through a new interactive website, the Irish Independent has learned.
The Oireachtas inquiry is hoping to receive confidential information from members of the public, which could prove instrumental in unravelling the events that led to the €64bn bank bailout.
Banking inquiry chairman Ciaran Lynch said a "confidential recipient" system will be put in place to receive information from whistleblowers.
"There will be an opportunity for people who wish to provide information on a confidential basis," he said.
"The confidential information will be subject to rules such as data protection laws, but there will be a platform for individuals who have information which may be of assistance to the inquiry," he added.
Mr Lynch pointed out that the inquiry was not a criminal investigation and could not investigate wrongdoing.
It is expected people will be able to make confidential submissions through a designated online portal linked to the current Oireachtas website.
The website will also include live streaming of the hearings.
There are also discussions under way between the Oireachtas and digital television providers about establishing a dedicated television station which would stream the highly anticipated hearings.
The nine-member Oireachtas committee has yet to be finalised but six nominees have been announced who will join chairman Mr Lynch.
Fine Gael-nominated TDs Kieran O'Donnell, John-Paul Phelan and Eoghan Murphy will be joined by Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath, Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty, and Independent TD Stephen Donnelly.
The nominations from the Seanad have yet to be confirmed, but Labour will choose one candidate and the other will come from the Opposition.
The nominations will be finalised tomorrow evening following a motion in the Dail.
Once the nominations are decided they will be put before the Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges (CPP) which will decide if candidates are appropriate for the hearings.
There is concern some members of the Oireachtas could face accusations of bias over comments they made in the past about banks and bankers likely to be called before the inquiry.
The inquiry team will also put forward its terms of reference to the CPP which will include the timeline it hopes to cover in its investigation.
The main focus of the inquiry will be the government's bank guarantee scheme in September 2008 and the events leading up to the passing of legislation guaranteeing bank deposits.
However, it is not envisaged that any decisions taken by the current Government – such as the liquidation of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) – will be reviewed.