Sunday 25 February 2018

Kenny insists Oireachtas banking probe will be fair

Taoiseach accuses FF of being part of an axis of collusion with the bankers

Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Taoiseach, Enda Kenny

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is insisting that an Oireachtas inquiry will be powerful enough to carry out the banking probe – and says former politicians should answer questions.

The Anglo tapes dominated Leaders' Questions in the Dail, amid arguments over how to conduct the banking inquiry.

Mr Kenny attacked Fianna Fail in heated exchanges with Micheal Martin, leading Mr Martin to claim the Taoiseach's statements proved that any inquiry carried out by politicians could not be impartial.

"We should remember who are the victims in this case," Mr Kenny said. "The victims are the tens of thousands of families, ordinary people around this country, who became victims of the axis of collusion between Anglo Irish Bank and Fianna Fail and the bankers in general in order to inflate the property business.

"They bought their houses at inflated mortgages and inflated prices and they found when the crash happened they had been left devoid of their business, devoid of their income and mortgaged to the hilt for the next generation."

Mr Kenny also accused Fianna Fail of introducing light-touch regulation and asked for an explanation of meetings between former ministers and senior bankers.

Mr Martin said an inquiry carried out by politicians "would undoubtedly be partisan, as per the Taoiseach's comments, and would not have the teeth to make adverse findings".

The Fianna Fail leader called for a tribunal of inquiry similar to the Leveson investigation into press standards in the UK.

He said the Anglo tapes showed that banking culture lacked any "moral compass" and "cannot be held to account by a Dail committee".

However, the Taoiseach said an investigation carried out by TDs and senators would be sufficient and he assumed that "our predecessors here and (who) served in high office" would come before the inquiry.

INVESTIGATIONS

Mr Kenny also said he and Richard Bruton, when in opposition, were given a presentation by Anglo executives on the bank guarantee in 2008 which was "a tissue and fabrication of untruths". He added: "That culture of 'hail fellow, well met, keep her rolling', we know very little about that."

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said the Anglo tapes showed David Drumm met with senior ministers. He asked who the ministers were. Mr Kenny replied: "I don't know what ministers from previous governments met with these serious, influential bankers."

He also said the gardai had the Anglo tapes for the past four years after seizing them under warrant and added the garda and corporate-enforcement investigations should be allowed take their course.

The Government did not have access to the tapes, he said.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath praised the Irish Independent for revealing the tapes, adding: "We must have individual culpability."

By Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

Irish Independent

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