Initial banking inquiry budget is set at €4.6m
THE Oireachtas banking inquiry is set to have an initial budget of almost €5m.
At its opening meeting held in private at Leinster House yesterday, lawyers warned the seven TDs and four senators on the special bank inquiry committee of the legal pitfalls which must be avoided in the coming months to keep their investigation on track.
The members were also warned about the risk of allegations of bias against members and other potential legal challenges.
The committee, chaired by Cork Labour TD Ciaran Lynch, is investigating the 2008 bank collapse, which cost taxpayers €64bn.
They met for four hours and discussed largely "housekeeping issues" like resources, a work timetable, and arrangements to frame legally binding terms of reference.
Several members said they were very keen to open up public hearings, which are expected to be televised, as soon as possible. But it has also emerged that it will be early next year at best before hearings can be got off the ground.
The committee has agreed to meet again next Wednesday and on a weekly basis for the foreseeable future.
It was agreed that a team of banking and financial experts is to be assembled to formulate an investigation plan, which will be given to the members for their approval later this summer.
Senior lawyers and accountants are also to be retained to give necessary legal and financial advice as it is required.
Committee sources said the initial inquiry budget had been put at €4.6m but that the issue is to be re-visited again next week.