FG attacks banking probe terms

REVISED terms of reference for the banking inquiry still do not go far enough as they do not allow for an investigation of government decisions, Fine Gael has said.

The Government confirmed last night it would extend the cut-off point for the inquiry from September 29, 2008 – the night the bank guarantee was put in place – to January 15, 2009.

This means the commission of investigation can examine how the banks handled issues right up to and including the nationalisation of Anglo in January 2009.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan had also signalled that government decisions on the banks would remain off-limits to the inquiry – which remains the case.

Mr Lenihan argues that any government decision taken as part of the bailout has been comprehensively debated in the Dáil.

But Fine Gael’s Michael Noonan argued that the revised terms still did not go far enough.

Meanwhile, Mr Lenihan’s department predicted on Budget Day that the economy would contract by 1.3% this year. Mr Lenihan is now predicting the economy will actually grow by 1% instead. While reiterating that the worst was over Mr Cowen said it was still “too early of the hallelujah chorus”.


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