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Government will hope to hurt FF with this inquiry

MICHEAL Martin's offer to debate Enda Kenny on the Seanad referendum certainly won't be extending to a more wide-ranging discussion on the banking inquiry.

The Government clearly intends for the banking inquiry to be a millstone around Fianna Fail's neck.

The long-awaited banking inquiry will concentrate on the period leading up to the €440bn State bank guarantee introduced by then Fianna Fail-led government.

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen will be a star witness. Former Fianna Fail junior minister John McGuinness clearly won't be heading up the inquiry as chairman of the Dail Public Accounts Committee.

A pledge to provide adequate funding to the inquiry will have to be put to the test but nobody will want a tribunal-style probe that drags on for years.

The Government says the Oireachtas will determine the terms of reference of the inquiry and it will have no further involvement.

But the scope of the banking inquiry is obviously being dictated by the perameters set out by the Taoiseach where he said it will cover "the bank guarantee and events leading up to it".

The Government does not intend for the inquiry to go into the terms of the bailout, the recapitalisation of the banking sector or the crisis that it so frequently points out it "inherited".

Given the limited remit for the banking inquiry, the Coalition clearly wants the public to have answers – up to a point.

A convenient cut-off point has been identified.

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