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Sunday 22 October 2017

PAC won't get banking inquiry, says colleague of McGuinness

John McGuinness
John McGuinness

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

A FIANNA FAIL colleague of Dail Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness says he does not believe the committee will get to hold the banking inquiry.

Mr McGuinness continues to be embroiled in controversy following revelations in the Irish Independent about spending – which he had no hand in – on the Fianna Fail TD's former ministerial office, his son's overtime, and his justification of his wife accompanying him on trips abroad.

Mr McGuinness was told by TDs on his own committee last week that his position has been damaged by speculating about "powerful forces" who may be out to get him.

But some committee members believe his statements as chairman have ensured the PAC will not be given the banking inquiry by the Government. Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath also believes the banking inquiry will not go to the PAC.

But Mr McGrath said he did not believe the most important issue was which committee would conduct the inquiry.

He said what mattered was what exactly would be examined by the inquiry. "My view is it is unlikely the Government will give that body of work to that committee," he said on RTE's 'This Week'.

Mr McGrath stood over the explanations provided by Mr McGuinness on the various controversies surrounding him.

He said he believed the issues were now dealt with and the controversy was "now put to bed".

Labour Party TD Derek Nolan, also a member of the PAC, said Mr McGuinness is not impartial enough to lead a banking inquiry.

"I believe that he may have crossed the line. There are now serious questions arising from the PAC meeting on Thursday as to his judgment and discipline to hold an inquiry," he told the 'Sunday Business Post'.

Last year members of the PAC, including Mr Nolan, cautioned Mr McGuinness about making announcements about a possible banking inquiry before any decisions were made and the powers were actually decided upon.

CONCERNS

Mr McGuinness had made a number of public comments about plans to set up an inquiry and the scope of its investigations. But members of the committee expressed concerns about the inquiry entering the public domain when nothing was agreed.

"We must be very careful to manage people's expectation and to ensure the reputation of the committee is not damaged by giving the impression that something might happen that will not," Mr Nolan said at the time.

Irish Independent

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