Tuesday 20 February 2018

TDs who sit on bank inquiry will be ruled out of next reshuffle

Fionnan Sheahan and Michael Brennan

AMBITIOUS coalition backbenchers will be counting themselves out of contention for a junior ministry in the reshuffle by going on the banking inquiry.

Meanwhile, the Anglo Irish Bank elements of the inquiry are expected to be split up before and after the trials of bank executives.

The parties and individual TDs are already positioning themselves for membership of the inquiry team. The subcommittee is expected to be made up of about seven to nine members of the Oireachtas.

But some coalition TDs are understood to be anxious to avoid going on it as government sources warn anyone who does so will rule themselves out of contention for a junior ministry in next year's reshuffle.

It will be impossible for the inquiry to carry out its task of looking into the state banking guarantee and the role of banks, auditors and state institutions without looking at and mentioning Anglo.


However, the inquiry will be precluded from making any references to former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick and two of his former colleagues, who are due to go on trial next year.

In line with standard practice, the Anglo executives facing trial will not be called as witnesses by the banking inquiry while their criminal trial is ongoing.

Mr FitzPatrick is also due to stand trial separately in October 2014 on charges of failing to make disclosures to the bank's auditors about loans he received.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (inset) warned yesterday that TDs who have made "very strong" comments about the banks in the past may not be allowed to participate in the inquiry.

It is not yet clear if it will be made up solely of TDs or if there will also be senators on the inquiry.

Meanwhile, a Fine Gael minister said he believed it would be "impossible" for the inquiry to be dealing with Anglo while the trials were ongoing. "We don't want to do anything to mess up the trials," he said.


Labour Party TD Ciaran Lynch, the chairman of the Oireachtas finance committee, is the clear favourite to chair the probe.

He is backed by Labour and Fine Gael. FG's Kieran O'Donnell and Heather Humphreys are being mentioned as the party's representatives.

Labour's Kevin Humphreys and Arthur Spring are being linked with membership.

In Fianna Fail, Michael McGrath, Sean Fleming and Thomas Byrne are being mentioned.

Sinn Fein began discussing its approach yesterday with Pearse Doherty or Mary-Lou McDonald expected to be the party's nominee.

Independent TD Stephen Donnelly is the favourite on the independent benches.

Irish Independent

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