The banking inquiry is unlikely to publish its report into what caused the economic crash until January, leading to the belief it may never see the light of day if a snap election is called.
Inquiry officials confirmed the situation is a possibility as a separate independent investigation into a series of allegations by an internal whistleblower has delayed the original timeframe for the report to be published
The report of the 11-person inquiry was expected to published in November. The last of its public interviews takes place this month.
The Irish Examiner understands the timeframe is not now considered possible, a situation inquiry chairman and Labour TD Ciaran Lynch will tell the Dáil when it returns on September 22.
Under the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act, 2013, an investigation must conclude under the same Dáil and Seanad which ratified it.
It means that if a snap election were to take place before January, the Dáil and Seanad, which would be dissolved, would be unable to sign off on the inquiry’s report, making the year-long work obsolete.
The independent investigation into a series of whistleblower allegations — including suggestions officials had dinner with and gave briefings to some witnesses before public grillings — caused consternation among inquiry members when they emerged in early summer.
However, while the need for ‘an inquiry into the inquiry’ is being pushed by a number of opposition members, it is also widely backed by the investigation as a whole. However, others believe it’s an attempt to scupper the investigation.
The new January deadline for the inquiry report is also likely to suit Government in the event no general election takes place until early next year as it will keep political issues surrounding the infamous September 2008 economic crash — when Fianna Fáil led a coalition government — at the forefront of the debate.
Meanwhile, the inquiry will return tomorrow, with the former
chief executive of Irish Nationwide, Michael Fingleton, set to attend.
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