Commission 'cheaper and shorter' than tribunal option
THE Government says it has chosen a commission of investigation as its preferred method of conducting a bank inquiry for two main reasons.
Firstly, Department of Finance officials said the cost of a commission would be substantially less than a tribunal.
For example, the commission of investigation into the Leas Cross nursing home scandal cost €2.1m. In contrast, the costs of the Moriarty and Mahon Tribunals, which are not yet finished, have yet to be established but are expected to run into hundreds of millions of euro.
Secondly, the Government said that a commission could be completed in a much tighter timeframe than a tribunal. This was a top priority for former Justice Minister Michael McDowell when he introduced the Commissions of Investigation Act in 2004.
The spur for the act was the RTE programme 'Cardinal Secrets', which then led to the commission of investigation into the Dublin Archdiocese in March 2006.
Chaired by Judge Yvonne Murphy, it was given a brief to report within 18 months but did not produce a report until last year. The Government said that the banking inquiry would conclude within a year.
The Mahon Tribunal has been running since 1997. The Moriarty Tribunal, which is expected to report in the coming months, also began in 1997.