Friday 23 March 2018

Party politics threatens progress of bank inquiry

The long overdue probe into one of the world's biggest-ever economic disasters has had a poor start

Jean-Claude Trichet
Jean-Claude Trichet

THE banking inquiry should be about the failures in banking and its regulation, not about party politics. The banking collapse was the largest home-grown economic disaster to have occurred in independent Ireland and one of the biggest banking crashes to have arisen anywhere.

It looks like the Government is trying to establish that it was Fianna Fail's fault, a proposition already endorsed by the voters at the 2011 General Election. Given the constraints which apply anyway to Oireachtas committees of inquiry, this latest effort to provide the public with a factual narrative about the causes of the disaster has made a bad start.

It is almost six years since the balloon went up in October 2008. There have been several official reports, all useful and interesting in their own ways, about aspects of the affair – as well as numerous books by journalists and academics. But there has been no proper banking inquiry, in the sense of an inquiry into the behaviour inside the individual banks which led to their collapse and the inability of bank regulators and supervisors to avert the looming disaster.

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