Sunday 23 October 2016

A useless inquiry? Obviously!

Published 22/11/2015 | 02:30

Brendan O'Connor
Brendan O'Connor

There was shock this weekend as it emerged that the report of the Banking Inquiry will be rubbish. Well, that's not quite true. There was shock among Inquiry members. The rest of us, including two-year-olds and dogs on the street, aren't raising an eyebrow. Because we've been paying attention.

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We paid attention, for example, when we heard this Inquiry into the catastrophe of the century would not be allowed to make any adverse finding against any individual. And we scratched our heads a little and thought: "Well, that sounds a bit pointless."

But we presumed they knew what they were doing, and we decided that they must have a plan.

Then we watched as a load of silver foxes trooped in off golf courses and tennis courts from D4 to the Algarve, and read out self-justifying statements and were asked a certain amount of allowed questions. It was more genteel and choreographed than Strictly Come Dancing, a lap of honour for many of the people who ruined the country. And we scratched our heads even more, and thought: "This isn't going to be much of a report."

But oddly, the Inquiry guys seemed to be persevering with it, even as the people for whom the whole thing was set up to make an adverse finding against - Fianna Fail - seemed to be coming well out of it. But we just thought: "Nah. Enda's not actually this stupid, is he?"

And lo and behold, here we are and it turns out the members of the Inquiry had an emergency meeting as the penny suddenly dropped. This is becoming a bit of a habit. The Fennelly inquiry, through no fault of its sole member, has been going for months only for us to discover that it's all too much work for one man to go through millions of hours of tapes. And the Government, branches of which cautioned about confidentiality when handing over documents to the IBRC/Siteserv inquiry, has discovered that everyone is entitled to their confidentiality, so that's scuppered too.

Maybe we should have an inquiry into the bleedin' obvious. It could take 10 years and could involve a load of people coming in and stating the obvious. And at the end of it the members of the inquiry could get their knickers in a twist about the fact that everything in the report is completely obvious. And the rest of us could say: "Well, obviously!"

We predict the vogue for inquiries is over now. It used to be the ambition of every ambitious person in this country to get into an inquiry or a tribunal; they were the ultimate gravy trains. But this weekend, you'll notice that most ambitious people are underlining their farming credentials. And may I say I have always had a deep commitment to rural Ireland. Indeed, fighting the good fight on behalf of the farmers would be a labour of love for me. But, of course, to keep it all above board, I'd be happy to take whatever small sinecure goes with it.

Sunday Independent

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