Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has stated that a snap election causing the banking inquiry to collapse without issuing a report would be an unconscionable breach of the democratic process on the part of the Taoiseach.
Deputy Martin commented, “The Taoiseach took a gung-ho approach about the need for an inquiry in to the banking collapse. However he has gone remarkably quiet on the subject now that the completion of its work may impact of his desire to cut and run for an early election. In May 2014 he told the Dáil “The Government believes that the Irish people are entitled to a full account of the banking crisis.” He cannot credibly claim that this has occurred without the publication of the inquiry’s report.
“The programme for government highlighted the importance of the Oireachtas inquiring in to matter of serious public concern and stated “We will ensure that the investigations into failures in the banking system are adequately resourced.” Clearly pulling the plug on the inquiry at this stage before it has a chance to complete its works would be a breach of this commitment. It would completely undermine the capacity to initiate future Oireachtas inquiries to provide an effective alternative to lengthy tribunals.
“One of the most important purposes of the Banking Inquiry is to make recommendations, but if an election is called this opportunity will be lost. A new Dáil will simply not be able to pick up the pieces if the current inquiry collapses. Over a year’s work will be lost down the drain.
“The Inquiry’s 45 staff have gone through 42,000 documents and over 500,000 pages of information which the various institutions were required to hand over. There is also the not insignificant matter of the €4.9m cost incurred to date.
“The government cannot hide behind the delay in the inquiry’s report date until January. It is entirely their own fault that the Inquiry did not start public hearings until earlier this year. The time has come for Enda Kenny to end the speculation around an early election and confirm that the banking inquiry will be allowed to complete its valuable work.”