By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Political Reporter
The cross-party bank inquiry is on course for a legal showdown with multi-millionaire developer Johnny Ronan after refusing his request to change its report over claims it is biased against him.
The decision to turn down the request was made at a one-hour meeting of the high-profile group today, and could potentially now lead to a judicial review which could further delay when the election will be called.
On Monday, Mr Ronan and Cork-based developer Michael O'Flynn wrote separate legal letters to the inquiry warning they may take legal action if the document is not changed to suit their needs.
Mr Ronan is understood to have had concerns over the fact his response to NAMA's statements to the inquiry has not been included, while Mr O'Flynnn had raised similar issues and claimed the wording of the report in his view wrongly implies issues involving him and party political donations.
While the donation issue has since been resolved, a one-hour meeting of the inquiry's 11 TDs and Senators and its senior counsel this afternoon decided to turn down requests for further changes to the investigation's report.
It is believed the reasons behind the decision not to substantially change the already completed document to take account of Mr Ronan's concerns has been outlined to the developer in a legal response letter sent to him this afternoon.
However, despite a bank inquiry spokesperson saying in a statement after the meeting that the investigation's report remains on course to be published on January 27 - removing one of the final stumbling blocks preventing the election from being called - the rejection decision has set the inquiry on course for a potential legal showdown with Mr Ronan.
In recent days the developer has made it clear that he will consider a judicial review of the inquiry's findings if it does not allow the changes he wants to be included.
While it is not expected that this process will take a number of weeks and could still be resolved quickly within the existing inquiry deadline, should a case be taken in the days before the planned January 27 publication date and January 28 cut-off point, it could derail the inquiry or prevent a February election from being called.