Wednesday 13 December 2017

DPP has kept close tabs on inquiry for potential conflicts with cases

Willie McAteer’s appearance at the inquiry was vetoed by the DPP
Willie McAteer’s appearance at the inquiry was vetoed by the DPP
John Downing

John Downing

The case of David Drumm is the sixth time that the DPP has been asked to assess potential difficulties with Oireachtas Banking Inquiry witnesses associated with Anglo Irish Bank.

In five cases, the process led to the witness being withdrawn and in only one case did the DPP direct the committee to continue.

Today, the seven TDs and four senators will meet privately to consider their next moves. It is understood that all of them want to move towards the conclusion of hearings in September, with a final report in November.

The former Anglo Irish Bank finance director, Willie McAteer, was due to address the inquiry tomorrow. But his involvement in criminal proceedings resulted in the DPP issuing a declaration to the committee to withdraw its mandatory direction to Mr McAteer to attend.

The DPP had previously intervened to force the inquiry committee to withdraw its directions of attendance to three other former Anglo executives - Seán FitzPatrick, Pat Whelan and John Bowe. Another former Anglo executive, Peter Fitzgerald, will have to appear after a representation by him to the DPP was rejected.

The inquiry committee said the DPP had declined to issue a declaration to Mr Fitzgerald and he is scheduled to give evidence at one of the final hearings on September 3.

The committee members must also decide how they will deal with the statement already filed by Mr Drumm.

Here again there are signs of differing views among the members, with some suggesting it can be considered, while others insist the statement falls in with the question of his giving video link evidence.

"Members will listen to legal advice," one source said.

Separately, the members will await the report of Senior Counsel Senan Allen on his review of allegations by a whistleblower about potential conflicts.

The outcome of this report, expected next month, could have serious implications.

Irish Independent

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