Thursday 29 September 2016

Banking Inquiry in chaos as Joe Higgins and Pearse Doherty refuse to sign off on final report

Published 06/12/2015 | 12:40

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty gave information to the Central Bank
Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty gave information to the Central Bank
Pearse Doherty at the Banking Inquiry

Joe Higgins has announced he has formally told the the Banking Inquiry he will not be signing off on the final report.

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In a statement issued tonight, the Socialist Party TD said: "I confirm that I have formally told the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis that I am not in a position to sign the Draft Report. I will make a full statement tomorrow, Monday, outlining my reasons for not signing."

His announcement came several hours after Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty told the inquiry he would not sign off on the final report.

Committee members have been locked in debate for the last three days as they seek to meet tight deadlines to complete the report.

TDs and senators have clashed over the final amendments of the report into the collapse of the banking sector but had reached agreement on most of its chapters.

However, several committee sources this afternoon confirmed Mr Doherty is the first member of the inquiry to announce he will not sign off on the €5m taxpayer funded report.

Sources said Mr Doherty raised concerns about chapters in the report relating to the controversial bank guarantee.

In a statement, Mr Doherty said:“When I agreed to take part in the banking inquiry, foremost in my mind were the people who have lost their homes and businesses, the cuts inflicted on our public services and the generation forced into emigration because of the banking crisis.

He added: “The people have the right to know how the banking crisis came about, who was responsible and to be assured that it would never happen again. 

“I have worked constructively on the inquiry to get to the full truth of what happened

“While the report includes new information, it fails to fully answer the questions regarding how the crisis came about and who was responsible.

“Our people deserve the full truth. That is why I am unable to sign off on the committee report.”

In an interview with RTE News at One, the Donegal TD said that the terms of the Inquiry had changed

“When I agreed to take part in this Inquiry, foremost in my mind were the people that lost their homes, the people who lost their businesses, the people in the public services and the people who had to leave the country.

“The people have a right to know who was responsible for the crisis and what was being done to ensure it would never happen again.," he said.

“In my view, while the report contains new information, it fails to truly answer the questions of how the crisis came about and who was responsible for it.

“I believe the people need to know the full truth.

He said the issue which tipped him over the edge was “I don’t think it tells the full story of what the people need to know of the report and in my view, it doesn’t.”

Mr Doherty said he didn’t believe the report should be “vague and non-judgmental”.

“I believe we could have gotten a different narrative in terms of the report and a different focus that the public would want to hear."

Socialist TD Joe Higgins previously indicated he would not sign off on the final report but he has yet to make a formal announcement.

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