Public Accounts Committee to probe banking guarantee
THE Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will this week announce that it will be holding a public inquiry into the events surrounding the infamous banking guarantee which set in train the series of events that led to the Troika bail-out in 2010.
Though five years have passed since the guarantee, the end of which was formally announced by Finance Minister Michael Noonan last week, there has still not been any public inquiry into the events surrounding its announcement. This week, however, the PAC will begin the process of putting together a report that will "cover the entire bank stabilisation process from 2007 onwards".
The Sunday Independent has learnt that part of this process will include unveiling the correspondence between the late Brian Lenihan and Jean Claude Trichet, the former head of the ECB.
In the aftermath of the bail-out the Government claimed it had not been "blackmailed" by the ECB but Mr Lenihan later said Ireland had been bullied by the Mr Trichet.
To date, the Government and the Minister for Finance – despite public claims by Mr Noonan that he was amenable to such a request – have not released the full correspondence surrounding the bail-out. Mr Noonan did, however, commit himself to the release of any such correspondence to a banking inquiry by a Dail Committee.
In a warning that may spark future disputes, PAC chairman John McGuinness also noted that "many of the documents received by the last PAC were heavily redacted and that is a matter that needs to be rectified in any inquiry''.
Any inquiry could also see Brian Cowen and former bankers such as Eugene Sheehy of Bank of Ireland and Brian Goggin of Allied Irish Banks give evidence for the first time in public.
Critically, Mr McGuinness confirmed to the Sunday Independent that the PAC already has in its possession "the papers and records of the Department of Finance for the period leading up to the decision to introduce the bank guarantee in 2008''.