Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath has said any Oireachtas banking inquiry should deal with the root causes of Ireland’s banking collapse as well as the decision taken on the night of the bank guarantee.
Deputy McGrath stated, “It would appear that the government is set to publish new legislation paving the way for an Oireachtas committee to carry out an inquiry into Ireland’s banking collapse. According to media reports, the government is anxious that the inquiry would focus on the night of the bank guarantee in September 2008. Such a narrow approach would, in my view, be a wasted opportunity to get to the bottom of what led to the crisis in the first place. It would also raise concerns that the Government is more interested in playing politics than getting to the truth of what happened to the banking sector in this country.
“While the decision to guarantee the deposits and liabilities of the banks and the political handling of the crisis generally should undoubtedly form an important part of the inquiry, it is essential that the inquiry also deals with the root causes of the banking crisis in Ireland. This would involve examining the regulatory regime in the years leading up to 2008, as well issues in the banks themselves such as the approach to risk management, corporate governance, the role of external auditors and the reward culture.
“In framing any inquiry, the government must have regard to the decision of the Irish people in 2011 to reject a constitutional referendum to bolster the investigative powers of committees. In my view this rejection was largely based on the public’s fear that politicians would not be able to put politics to one side while undertaking such inquiries. This forthcoming legislation and any terms of reference is an opportunity for the Government to prove that they are acting in good faith and have a genuine desire to understand what happened.
“There is no doubt that there are unanswered questions surrounding Ireland’s banking crisis. It is important that any inquiry would be used to identify the lessons to ensure that Ireland as a country is able to avoid such a crisis ever developing again.”