Kenny and Burton told to appear at banking inquiry

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton will today be told they must attend a banking inquiry grilling in late July over the roles of Fine Gael and Labour in the 2008 economic crash.

The Coalition party leaders will be named on the final witness list this afternoon alongside former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, ex-tánaiste Mary Harney, former Green Party leader John Gormley, and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton. Former taoiseach Brian Cowen and ex-finance minister Charlie McCreevy have already been told to attend.

While the other politicians’ attendance has long been flagged, the plan to haul in the head of Government and two senior ministers was only recently put to the inquiry, leading to claims it is an attempt to spread the blame.

The move was agreed by the cross-party group after it was first suggested by Fianna Fáil’s inquiry members, Michael McGrath and Marc MacSharry, three weeks ago.

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After being deferred to the backroom “investigation team” for a decision at a later date, inquiry members were told last night it had been concluded that Mr Kenny, Ms Burton, and Mr Bruton must also attend to explain what attempts they made to calm the boom while their parties were in opposition.

The issue was not voted on as no one contradicted the decision. However, it is understood a number of Government inquiry members are unhappy with what they believe is an attempt to politicise the investigation.

The decision to force the Taoiseach and two sitting ministers to attend is expected to overshadow news that Mr Ahern will finally appear, and switch the focus from Mr Cowen at the meetings on July 2 and 8.

Also on the list of witnesses to appear at the inquiry are bankers Michael Fingleton and David Drumm — the latter of whom is highly unlikely to attend given current extradition issues — and current IMF and European Commission representatives.

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