Saturday 16 December 2017

I can't step down from bank inquiry committee - D'Arcy

Senator Michael D'Arcy pictured at, Gorey Civic Amenity Site.
Senator Michael D'Arcy pictured at, Gorey Civic Amenity Site.

Fintan Lambe

GOREY SENATOR Michael D'Arcy says he won't step down from the government's controversial Banking Inquiry Committee, because he hasn't been appointed to the committee.

'I'm not on the Banking Inquiry Committee. I've just been asked to participate in the review of the terms of reference for the inquiry,' he explained. 'Following the discussion upon the terms of reference, the terms of reference have to go to both House of the Oireachtas, and they will have to ultimately agree on them before the Inquiry is set up.'

'The expectation is I will be participating at that stage, but that's a matter for the Seanad, and I don't want to pre-judge anything before that,' he added.

Senator D'Arcy and Labour senator Susan O'Keeffe were added to the seven names already nominated amid scenes of controversy last Thursday in the Seanad, after the Government parties found themselves in a minority on the committee.

Fine Gael yesterday (Monday) accused Fianna Fáil of pulling a 'stroke' when it took advantage of the absence of Labour Senators to vote two Opposition Senators onto the Inquiry: Fianna Fáil's Marc McSharry and Independent Sean Barrett.

At the weekend, Independent TD Stephen Donnelly, from Wicklow, resigned from the Inquiry in protest at the government's 'cavalier' handling of the issue. Meanwhile, the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste said they would not impose the whip on party members serving on the inquiry.

Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, Senator D'Arcy defended the Taoiseach's handling of the issue.

'What the Taoiseach did say was that the long standing convention that stood for decades was that all Oireachtas committees reflect the power and structure of the parties in the Dáil and Seanad,' he stated.

'That position has stood for decades, but the most important thing is that the Taoiseach and Tánaiste have publicly stated that no whip will apply. I think everybody on the committee was going to operate in the greater good of the committee and the investigation to get to the truth of what did or didn't happen.'

Responding to criticism of the Taoiseach's appointment of the two additional Senators, of which he was one, Senator D'Arcy said 'of course he was within his rights to do it.'

'People who know me know if he was looking for a compliant person to accept the word from high, it isn't me,' he stated.

There have been calls from Sinn Féin and others for him to withdraw from the committee. 'I was asked to participate in one section of the most important Oireachtas committees in the history of our State, and I won't shirk my responsibility,' he stated. 'I have a good grasp of how to communicate with the public and I think that that could be helpful when it comes to delivering a clear, concise message from the committee. I would remind Sinn Féin that they voted in favour of the bank guarantee and their attempt to rewrite history cannot be undone.'

Commenting on the resignation of Deputy Donnelly, Sen. D'Arcy said he believes 'there is only one member of the committee who is indispensable and that is Professor Sean Barrett, Professor of Economics at Trinity.'

'I don't believe anybody else is, and the committee has a vital role to investigate and scrutinise how the tax payers of the country ended up on the hook for a bill of €64 billion euro,' he stated.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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