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Sunday 23 July 2017

Banking probe: For and against

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen has refused to rule a banking inquiry in or out.

He told the Dail: "I don't think it's right to be talking about my reluctance. I simply have to give careful consideration to (calls for an inquiry)."

Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan has already said an inquiry was required. He told the Oireachtas Committee on Economic Regulatory Affairs the inquiry should be similar to a US congressional hearing into the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US.

Environment Minister John Gormley said an inquiry would need to establish exactly what the relationship was between Anglo Irish Bank and Fianna Fail politicians. He said he wanted the probe established without delay.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan agrees there should be an inquiry after NAMA is fully established and when the banks are capitalised. But he refuses to say when this might be and how it would proceed.

Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Martin backed calls for an inquiry.

But he claims holding an inquiry now would pull key witnesses away from sorting out the financial crisis.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore have both called for an inquiry to be held immediately with full powers to compel witnesses to attend.

Seanad leader and Fianna Fail senator Donie Cassidy wants an inquiry to be held inside the Seanad chambers. He is to make a proposal to the Government to hold the inquiry this month, on foot of a call from independent senator Shane Ross.

Fianna Fail backbenchers Mattie McGrath, Sean Connick, Michael Ahern, Chris Andrews and Michael Moynihan all favour an inquiry. But some want it now and more want to wait until the banking crisis has been solved.

Irish Independent

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