Friday 19 December 2014

Banking inquiry staffing costs to rise

Published 24/07/2014 | 02:30

Ciaran Lynch: the banking inquiry chairman
Ciaran Lynch: the banking inquiry chairman

The cost of providing support staff to the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry is set to escalate "significantly" from original estimates, committee members have said.

There was also heated discussion between Government and opposition members as to the sequence of work the inquiry would undertake.

The committee met for more than four hours yesterday to discuss a report from its ad hoc expert group as to its terms of reference.

But during the course of the meeting the issue of costs was discussed at length.

According to members, the costs of providing additional support staff are set to rise. It was reported at the weekend that latest estimates suggest the inquiry will cost as much as €5m.

In committee documents obtained by this newspaper, originally €300,000 had been allocated for four analysts to help the work of the committee. However, at the meeting yesterday, it became apparent that a "significant" increase in research personnel will be required.

"It looks like the provision for researchers, which is for four people, will increase considerably," said one committee source.

It concluded that four analysts would not be sufficient, with one member stating that the Nyberg Commission, which previously looked at the banking crisis, had 14 such researchers.

Meanwhile, the expert group has suggested the inquiry's work should be broken up into four modules – a context module, a module on banking systems, a module on regulatory and supervision and a module on crisis management and the policy response of Government.

The expert group proposed that the policy module, which is expected to hear from key players – including former Taoiseach Brian Cowen – should happen at the start.

Irish Independent

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