Oireachtas members to query banking report

The multimillion-euro cross-party Oireachtas bank inquiry report is set to be published this afternoon, before its findings are immediately called into question by two of its own members.

The high-profile investigation into what caused the economic crash that forced Ireland into a near decade of austerity will be published at 3pm after being formally put before the Dáil by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The document is based on more than a year of lengthy public questioning of some of the key political, financial and banking officials in charge at the time of the economic crisis and more than 14,000 previously unseen documents.

However, despite an initial belief it would hold individuals directly responsible for what caused the crash, it has instead been bogged down in internal bickering and legal difficulties which have significantly curtailed what it can report — and at one stage threatened the future of the inquiry itself.

It is expected that when it is published today the inquiry report will outline the impact that banking, ECB, political and other sectors had on creating Ireland’s economic bubble, sustaining it, and allowing it to get out of control.

However, it is expected to be criticised for failing to go far enough on a number of key issues.

After the report is handed to inquiry members at 2pm, put before the Dáil by Mr Kenny and passed without a vote or debate and then subsequently published at 3pm, nine of the inquiry members will attend a press conference to explain the findings and whether they believe the process has been worthwhile.

However, two members who have refused to sign off on the document due to what they believe are its failings to deliver on what was promised — Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins and Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty — are expected to heavily criticise the official report.

This morning, Mr Higgins will publish his own 120-page ‘minority’ report on the evidence put forward to the bank inquiry, which he is understood to have been working on for a number of months due to concerns the multi-party aspect of the inquiry team meant making incisive analysis was never going to happen.

He told reporters in December his document would “bring a different ideological analysis to the whole period that saw the price of a home for an ordinary person go up by 100% each year for 10 years” and there will be a “big divergence” between the reports.

“The fact is, it is blindingly obvious blame should be attached to institutions and individuals in relation to what happened during the bubble in property and the crash,” he said at the time.

While not writing a minority report, Mr Doherty will also hold a separate press conference this evening outlining his concerns with the official document.

Tomorrow, the Dáil will hold a 90-minute debate on the findings of the inquiry and whether the year-long investigation has been worthwhile, freeing up Mr Kenny to call the general election next Tuesday or Wednesday for a mooted February 26 election date.

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