Donation comments deleted from final banking inquiry report

At a meeting of the inquiry yesterday, 11 committee members considered 33 detailed submissions from so-called interested parties, and made a number of changes to the report.

Among those who made submissions were Mr O’Flynn; former Taoiseach Brian Cowen; former Department of Finance secretary general Kevin Cardiff; former president of the European Central Bank Jean- Claude Trichet; and former Central Bank governor John Hurley.

Some of the country’s leading banks, including AIB and Bank of Ireland, also made submissions seeking changes or deletions from the report.

According to sources, the committee heard recommendations on various submissions from their team of investigators, but not all the recommendations were accepted.

Mr O’Flynn’s submission was said to be one of the most comprehensive, and was said to be deeply critical of Nama. He is also believed to have complained about the placement of text within the final report about donations given to politicians from developers and the suggestion such payments led to influence.

A number of members of the committee agreed there was a lack of balance in the way the report was constructed and agreed to remove the reference.

Some former leading politicians, including ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his finance minister Charlie McCreevy, chose not to make a submission to the inquiry.

Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South Central, told the Irish Examiner that despite the many obstacles facing it, the inquiry has now agreed a final report: “The report will have to be read with the evidence books but overall the report does add to the knowledge and improve our understanding of the Irish banking crisis. It was a worthwhile exercise.”

On Monday, those affected by the changes in the text will be notified in writing and a 21-day period will commence to allow any potential legal challenge to be lodged.

Should no challenge come to pass, then the watered-down report will be published on January 27.

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