Banking inquiry could cost €3m

Ciarán Lynch, chairman of the Finance Committee

The long-awaited Oireachtas banking inquiry could last up to 200 days and cost €3m, TDs have been informed.

The probe is close to being finalised with TDs told at least 50 staff, including legal and financial experts, will be needed.

Politicians and experts who sit on the inquiry will not be allowed use advice from the Attorney General, advisers have told the high level Committee on Procedure and Privileges (CPP).

The Irish Examiner has learnt the CPP met in the last fortnight and members discussed finalising the terms and guidelines for the banking investigation.

It will be held under the new Oireachtas inquiries legislation, passed earlier this year, and will focus on the events surrounding the decision by the Fianna Fáil-Green Party government for the bank guarantee in September 2008.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil in September the probe would be carried out in modules and focus on the bank guarantee, the role of the banks and auditors as well as state institutions.

Oireachtas staff have advised the CPP that an inquiry lasting 200 committee sitting days — equivalent to a year and a half — would cost in the region of €3m.

The probe will need 50 staff, including up to 20 in legal services. It will also need parliamentary reporters, possibly up to 16, for transcripts of hearings.

The Oireachtas is preparing ‘standing orders’ — parliamentary changes to allow for the inquiry — to go back to the committee and then to the Dáil for a vote, expected in January.

While the Finance Committee, chaired by Labour TD Ciarán Lynch, is the clear favourite to lead the probe, another three committee options are being considered. These include the inquiry headed by the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee, the Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions or a new committee made up of a mix of cross-party politicians.


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