Monday 22 January 2018

Brendan O'Connor: Making a Howlin mess of the banking inquiry

The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee has been 'knifed in the front' by the Reform Minister, writes Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

ON June 28, out of the blue, John McGuinness, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, got a letter from Brendan Howlin. The letter, discussing issues around the upcoming banking inquiry being undertaken by the Public Accounts Committee is long and detailed. I won't bore you with the ins and outs of it.

The critical bit was thrown in about halfway down. Howlin suggests that the banking inquiry, which the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has been preparing for six months, should perhaps be of a different nature to that envisaged by the PAC, and he writes that the nature of the inquiry "might suitably involve the Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Committee".

McGuiness must have felt he was being knifed in the front by Howlin. This is the most hotly anticipated Government inquiry in years -- uncovering the detail around the banking collapse, and the granting of the bank guarantee, and the assessment of who actually did what in the banks, the Department of Finance and the Government, on the night of what many believe was the biggest, costliest and most disastrous mistake in modern Irish history.

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