Friday 23 March 2018

Banking Inquiry on brink of collapse

Eoghan Murphy
Eoghan Murphy

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

The Banking Inquiry was in a state of total chaos last night as members and officials expressed deep scepticism over the prospect of producing a final report.

Such was the level of farce surrounding the inquiry, members still had not been shown the report's recommendations or executive summary.

Several sources described today as "D-Day", adding that the entire investigation could collapse next week.

The serious issues threatening the inquiry include:

■ Members' complaints that the report is completely incoherent and full of inaccuracies;

■ Deep reservations over whether the report will stand up to legal scrutiny if challenged;

■ Doubts over whether the new deadline of January 28 will be met;

■ Disagreement over many of the hundreds of amendments that have been tabled.

Fine Gael TD and inquiry member Eoghan Murphy told the Irish Independent he is becoming increasingly worried about finishing it.

"If the process agreed late on Thursday night doesn't work, I'm very worried that there may not be another option. Because this isn't just about time. But we're trying to make it work and we want to make it work," he said.

In a desperate bid to salvage the inquiry, a third member was yesterday drafted in to work specifically on a second draft report.

Fine Gael Senator Michael D'Arcy has now joined an internal team involving his party colleague Mr Murphy and Labour senator Susan O'Keeffe.

The team has been asked to effectively rewrite the report in a bid to resolve the impasse.

The inquiry, which has cost the taxpayer €5m, has been plagued by legal barriers and difficulties to date.

While there is concern within Government that failure to produce a report will prove controversial, the overall feeling is that the public has not become engaged in the hearings.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business