Banking inquiry report: New rules for Oireachtas inquiries recommended

Future Oireachtas inquiries must be given at least two years to complete a probe and not be inhibited by the dissolution of the Dáil, the banking inquiry has recommended.

Material uncovered by the inquiry should also be retained indefinitely and special guidelines drawn up so future investigations do not prejudice criminal trials.

A series of recommendations made by the inquiry include proposals on how to carry out future Oireachtas investigations which are a matter of public interest.

The recommendations came as banking inquiry members yesterday expressed frustration around the amount of time they had to work and restrictions in investigating the causes and reasons behind the financial and banking crash.

Suggestions are being made to better manage the work of future inquiries, to limit members’ workloads, and to lesson legal risks, after the banking inquiry ran into trouble during its investigation.

Recommended timescales for future inquiries of importance should be 24 months, as opposed to the 14 months allocated for the banking probe.

Any statutory or other impediments to future inquiries requesting documentation for investigations should be addressed, it recommends.

The inquiry has also said that the DPP should be required to prepare guidelines for inquiries on avoiding prejudice to criminal trials and investigations.

This follows disagreement between the DPP and the inquiry on whether a statement from former Anglo Irish Bank CEO David Drumm could be admitted as evidence or not during its work.

Certain information in future could also be given to an inquiry chairman, in confidence, so as not to prejudice trials, says the report.

Guidance must also be drafted up for inquiry members on how to deal with private allegations or disclosures during their work.

Banking inquiry members expressed frustration about the limited time they had, given the fact the report had to be completed before the general election.

This is because a new Dáil would have resulted in the inquiry collapsing.

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