Tuesday 22 October 2019

Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny to be called before Banking Inquiry

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
Enda Kenny and Joan Burton

Daniel McConnell

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are expected to give evidence later this Summer at the banking inquiry.

The inquiry met in private for several hours and signed off on the latest batch of political witnesses it wants to hear from.

Today, the inquiry will hear from representatives of the financial auditing firms, which have been criticised for their role in the crash. Tomorrow, former Central Bank governor John Hurley will give evidence.

Both Mr Kenny and Mr Ahern are to be grilled as to their expansionary election campaign promises in the run-up to the 2007 General Election, when the economy was already in decline.

Along with Mr Kenny and Mr Ahern, who was Taoiseach between 1997 and 2008, the inquiry also wants to hear from former Progressive Democrats leader and Tánaiste Mary Harney and former Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who both served in government.

The inquiry will also seek to hear from Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton, formerly the party's finance spokeswoman.

Current Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, who was finance spokesman for Fine Gael at the time of the crash, is also being called.


Sources last night said the politicians are expected to give evidence in late July, following the much-anticipated appearance by another former Taoiseach, Brian Cowen.

The Irish Independent previously revealed how a major row erupted within the inquiry as to whether Mr Kenny should appear.

Fianna Fáil inquiry members Michael McGrath and Marc MacSharry strongly insisted that Mr Kenny be brought in to give evidence, given his leadership role in the run-up to the 2007 General Election. This met strong opposition from some on the Government side, with Mr MacSharry and chairman Ciaran Lynch clashing.

Fine Gael at the time campaigned on promises to expand Government spending - despite warnings about the downturn.

Former IMF mission chief to Ireland Ajai Chopra will appear before the inquiry in September.

Irish Independent

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