Opposition leaders have questioned the sincerity of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s plan to give them details of new legislation to address the IBRC scandal tomorrow, saying that the move is a “box-ticking exercise” to hide the fact the inquiry will not be completed before the election.
The claim was made as the Government insisted it is doing all it can to find a solution to the difficulties facing the state inquiry.
Under moves first announced late last year to address chronic shortcomings in the investigation’s powers, Mr Kenny will provide the main points of new laws he says will be able to tackle the problems damaging the state inquiry.
The decision was made after the head of the inquiry, Judge Brian Cregan, warned in November he did not have enough legal powers to examine confidential bank client details and would also struggle to get to the bottom of unusual share-price fluctuations before firms were sold unless further supports are provided.
Mr Cregan also warned it would be impossible for the inquiry to complete its examination of Siteserv before the general election — a deadline initially promised by the Government — and that even if the powers are provided it may take years to answer all IBRC questions.
Mr Kenny subsequently wrote to all opposition leaders in December seeking their views, leading to the heads of the new bill details being provided to the opposition tomorrow and for the inquiry’s time-scale to be extended until at least April.
However, despite the Coalition’s view the move will allow all parties to have their say on how to progress the inquiry, Renua and Fianna Fáil were last night heavily critical of the approach.
A Fianna Fáil spokesperson dismissed the provision of the heads of bill as a “box- ticking exercise” designed to take attention away from the fact the inquiry will “coincidentally” not be completed before voters have their say at the ballot boxes.
The spokesperson noted no one in Fianna Fáil has been told yet whether they will physically meet with Mr Kenny over the issue or simply be emailed the bills.
A spokesperson for Renua leader Lucinda Creighton was equally critical, saying “the Government was absolutely without a plan” on the matter.
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