Bank inquiry won’t be a ‘Reeling In The Years’ type of probe

The Oireachtas banking inquiry is expected to be informed of the optimum timeline and areas for investigation by a special team of advisers before the end of this month.

TDs and senators yesterday agreed on the nine-member team of advisers who will play a crucial role facilitating the inquiry into the financial crisis and banking guarantee.

But committee chairman Ciarán Lynch also warned that it would “not be a ‘Reeling in the Years’ type of inquiry” — but will be more fine-tuned and exacting.

Set-up costs for new facilities for the inquiry team and their staff in and around Leinster House will be considerably less than the initial estimate of €400,000.

The nine experts from various fields include: Pat Casey, Principal Officer (Department of Finance); Paul Gorecki, Adjunct Professor of Economics, Trinity College Dublin; Megan Greene, Maverick Intelligence; Cathal Guiomard, economist and former Aviation Commissioner for Ireland; Conor McCabe, Research fellow, UCD School of Social Justice; Colm McCarthy, economist, Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General; Rafique Mottiar, consultant economist (Central Bank) and John Shaw, Assistant Secretary (Department of the Taoiseach).

The Inquiries Committee has agreed that its final proposals for the banking probe will be ready by September 17. However, Mr Lynch confirmed that the ad-hoc advisory team would look at the scope of the inquiry and supply a report to members by July 23. The advisers will work for free, he added.

While Fianna Fáil and some Opposition members want the scope of the timespan for the probe widened to include periods of the current Government, members from the Coalition are keen to have a focused period including the pre and post bank guarantee period.

Mr Lynch added: “This will not be a Reeling in the Years type of inquiry.”

The committee also discussed how to keep costs, which could run to €5.2m, down where possible.

Estimates that works at the Department of Agriculture for a special room for the committee could amount to €400,000 have been reduced, with some members suggesting it might only be half that amount.

Deputy Lynch added: “A key issue for members is that expenditure related to the inquiry should be kept to a minimum and that the operation of the inquiry should at all times be cost effective, efficient and reasonable and the Committee will keep estimates of costs under continued review.”


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