Thursday 22 February 2018

Politicians divided on plans to take video evidence from Anglo boss Drumm

David Drumm
David Drumm
John Downing

John Downing

POLITICIANS are divided on whether former Anglo Irish Bank boss David Drumm should be allowed testify on video-link from the USA to the Oireachtas bank inquiry.

Fianna Fáil has come out against the move and so did Lucinda Creighton of Reunua Ireland. But Sinn Féin said they will wait and see.

Mr Drumm has been in the US since soon after the bank collapsed in 2008 costing taxpayers some €30bn. He has refused to return to Ireland to answer questions and the Irish authorities are seeking his extradition.

But Mr Drumm has offered to give evidence via video to Oireachtas bank inquiry who are now taking legal advice on their next move. The inquiry, headed by Labour TD Ciarán Lynch is close to completing its hearings and has a November deadline to complete its report.

Mr Drumm has filed a written witness statement and in other circumstances video evidence and questioning by the members would not cause controversy.

Fianna Fáil TD and committee member Michael McGrath said it would be "a grave error" if the banking inquiry was to take video evidence. He said Mr Drumm should return to Ireland to co-operate with the criminal investigations and also attend the inquiry in person.

Mr McGrath said his own legal advice was that by refusing to appear before the Committee in Leinster House next Wednesday, as directed by, Mr Drumm was already breaking the law.

"I will not support or play any part in such an exercise," Mr McGrath said.

Sinn Féin finance spokesperson and committee member, Pearse Doherty, said the banking inquiry committee was seeking legal advice on the matter. He said the Director of Public Prosecutions would be involved in the committee decision.

Mr Doherty noted that the DPP had already blocked the inquiry from calling certain individuals.

Renua Ireland leader, Lucinda Creighton, said it was wrong to hear video evidence from Mr Drumm.

“I have a difficulty about that, he’s somebody the State is trying to extradite at the moment. I don’t believe that it would be appropriate, in the same way that I didn’t believe that it was appropriate that the banking inquiry shipped up to Dublin Castle to speak to Mr Trichet. I think that there has to be some degree of respect for the national parliament,” Ms Creighton said.

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