Two Oireachtas bank inquiry members unlikely to sign off report

Only nine of the 11 members of the €5m Oireachtas banking inquiry look set to sign off on the final report, because of objections with its contents.

Two Oireachtas bank inquiry members unlikely to sign off report

Socialist member Joe Higgins and Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty are both understood to have insurmountable difficulties with the tone, content, and direction of the truncated final report.

Following strong complaints about the original draft report, inquiry members Eoghan Murphy and Susan O’Keeffe took charge of redrafting it in a bid to salvage the inquiry.

Members were permitted access to a new draft report yesterday and were given up to 11pm last night to table any amendments for consideration today.

However, several inquiry sources confirmed that the chances of the full team signing off on the final report are “next to nil”.

“Joe, we know, was never likely to sign off on the report given how things went and there is now grave concern that Pearse will also not sign off on it, which is a shame,” said one member.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said challenges remain for the inquiry and that it is important for the credibility of the report that as many members as possible stay on board.

“The team is making good progress and I will be feeding through my own amendments in the next 24 hours or so,” he said.

Inquiry members will have the opportunity now to suggest amendments to the working draft report ahead of a key meeting on Thursday, when it is hoped the committee or as many of the committee as possible will sign off on it.

“There is still a lot of work to do and it will still be very challenging to get all of the work done by Thursday in order to sign off on a draft report,” said Mr McGrath.

Addressing the likelihood of Mr Doherty and Mr Higgins not signing off on the report, Mr McGrath said he always felt it would be difficult to deliver a report that all 11 committee members could sign off on “given the constraints”.

“I hope we can keep all 11 on board and if not then we keep as many as close to the 11 as possible because we need a strong majority of the committee to give it credibility,” he said.

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