For the duration of the inquiry hearings, there was hardly a cross word between the Labour Party chairman and the other members, at least during the public sessions, and all members have been keen to show that they are taking their respective roles in the inquiry seriously. Contrast this restraint and responsible behaviour with the shenanigans in the Dáil. Anyone watching proceedings from the public gallery in Leinster House or on television will note that they are often less than edifying.
Important legislation being introduced by the Government parties may be objected to for no good reason, or be seen as an opportunity for political point-scoring. Similarly, sensible amendments proposed by the opposition are often shot down to show who’s boss. It is the confrontational nature of our parliamentary plenary debates that turns political engagement into a combat zone.
Banking inquiry members worked practically round the clock to meet the deadline to publish their report. There is a limit to consensus, as Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty became the first to reveal he would not be signing off on the report, but the committee system is a welcome relief from the Dáil bearpit.