Sunday 22 April 2018

Taoiseach defends Government banking inquiry procedure

CRITICISM: Micheal Martin
CRITICISM: Micheal Martin

Lise Hand and Ralph Riegel

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has rejected suggestions that the banking inquiry's credibility has been damaged by the Government's controversial decision to add two Coalition members.

But Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has described the affair as a "fiasco".

The move to increase the membership came after the Government was left without a majority vote, as Fianna Fail's Marc MacSharry was selected instead of the Coalition's nominee, Labour Senator Susan O'Keeffe.

In response, Ms O'Keeffe and Fine Gael's Michael D'Arcy were added to the committee by the Government, prompting uproar from the Opposition.

The action has resulted in Independent TD Stephen Donnelly threatening to withdraw as a member of the inquiry.

Mr Kenny said the issue was not about rows between parties or personalities.

"It is to determine the truth and the facts of the sequence of events that led up to the collapse of the economy and the banks," he said.

The Taoiseach denied that the controversy had damaged the long-awaited inquiry before it even began.

"Well, if you were listening to some of the hysterics from the Seanad, you might take that view," he said.

"I think people should step back here and reflect again on what is the purpose of the banking inquiry. It is to determine the facts and the truth of what happened in the lead-up to that.

"It's not about inter-party rows, it is not about personalities. It's about determining the truth for the Irish people and I hope that the inquiry under the chairmanship of Deputy Ciaran Lynch will see that it happens."

But Mr Martin said: "This has been a bad week for politics in Ireland. With the admission from the Taoiseach that he wanted a majority on the banking inquiry to control its terms of reference, and then the decision to press ahead and impose an additional two government representatives, the Government's last shreds of credibility around political reform were abandoned."

Irish Independent

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