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Dáil debate limps out of the chamber despite some flashes of fire and anger

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Sean Fleming

Sean Fleming

Sean Fleming

There were flashes of fire and anger - but in the end this IBRC Dáil debate limped more than a little as it went out the gate.

The vote approving the terms of reference for the new Commission of Investigation into how IBRC dealt with 40 major business people, including businessman Denis O'Brien, was passed handily by 119 votes to 20.

This commentary by Independent TD Shane Ross appeared to catch something of the day's mood, which was more wistful and fatalistic than angry. Mr Ross was conciliatory in saying he believed the Government was seeking the truth of how IBRC dealt with the debris of Ireland's collapsed economy.

He believed that many on the Opposition benches, including Independent TD Catherine Murphy, were equally seeking the truth of what occurred. But Mr Ross was not optimistic that solutions and remedies would be found.

"I find that the solution that has been agreed upon, of setting up another Commission of Inquiry or tribunal, or whatever one would like to call it, is unsatisfactory," he ventured.

"This is a tried and tested way to divert problems out into the distance. The history of tribunals of inquiry and commissions of inquiry is a sad one in this House," Mr Ross added.

Much of the day's doings tended towards the technical side and there was also a sense that the main action was elsewhere. At an EU summit in Brussels, the Taoiseach conceded that a conclusion of this inquiry could go beyond the deadline and into 2016.

Elsewhere in Leinster House, the Dáil's disciplinary Committee on Procedure and Privileges was sitting to consider whether Ms Murphy had breached parliamentary privilege. By teatime they would rule that she had not.

But there were some fireworks. Fianna Fáil's Seán Fleming, who usually avoids strident statements, said Fine Gael had "done nothing" to investigate the "corruption" relating to some of its own members, as confirmed by the Moriarty Tribunal.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan challenged Mr Fleming to say those things outside the Dáil chamber.

Mr Fleming countered that he did not want this to lead to legal letters. And he added that there seemed to be "one law for the rich and a different law for everyone else".

The vote followed soon afterwards with its inevitable result.

All Government deputies will hope Shane Ross is proved right in the short term and this trusty formula "to divert problems out into the distance" works.

Irish Independent