Bank Inquiry report to say crash couldn't be stopped after 2005
The salvaged Banking Inquiry report is expected to say that the economic collapse could not have been stopped after 2005, the Irish Independent has learned.
It is understood the draft report suggests that while more could have been done to lessen the impact of the financial crisis, the 'soft landing' predicted by Bertie Ahern and others was never going to happen.
"By 2005 the game was up and it was too late to prevent the crisis," said a source.
The revelation comes as the 11-member committee agreed a new "roadmap" for their report which will now be halved from the 750-page draft they were given last night. Labour Party Senator Susan O'Keeffe, who is one of the two politicians on the 'finalisation team', said that they have "refocused our mission because time is terribly short".
She will spend the next week "locked away" with Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy, several legal advisers, investigators and administration staff attached to the inquiry team drawing up the second and third drafts of the report.
"For me this makes sense. We need to work in short concentrated bursts. There's a deadline and we have to meet it," she told the Irish Independent.
The full committee will meet again next Thursday to review progress and still intends to achieve final publication by January 20.
Committee chairman Ciaran Lynch said some chapters will be merged in an effort to streamline the process. He said one of the key elements of the final report will be the period between the bank guarantee in 2008 and the bailout in 2011.
"They will be new aspects that haven't been published in previous reports and we will see them reflected in the final report itself," Mr Lynch said.
He said there was "complete unity" within the committee.
However, it is understood that the Socialist TD Joe Higgins will still struggle to sign off on the final report.
He described the first draft as "unamendable" but did attend yesterday's crisis meeting.
Sources said that Mr Higgins intends to continue participating in the process but ultimately may still produce his own report at the end.
"It's extremely unlikely that he will be able to agree ideologically with what's in the report, but he wants to continue to work on it," said a source.
Sinn Féin's representative on the inquiry Pearse Doherty said that the final report would not be everything they had hoped for but time was an issue.
"It won't be as detailed, it won't cover as many bases as what we would have intended to and the real problem here is time," he said. The Donegal TD added that there is "no Plan B" - so members would have to go with "a rescue operation".
One source warned last night that despite the best intentions of the members, the inquiry could still hit a "disaster" if there are any legal objections, after the final version of the draft report is sent out to all the parties who took part in the inquiry.
The Irish Independent understands that one of the likely findings of the report is that after 2005 the economic crash was inevitable.
"There were things that could have been done to mitigate against it in the three years but it couldn't be stopped," said a source.
The view sheds new light on the events leading up to the crash and will raise significant questions about the promises made by all the political parties going into the 2007 General Election.
It is also likely to point out that the lending splurge continued in the intervening years leading to the situation where the Fianna Fáil-Green government made a decision in September 2008 to introduce the bank guarantee.