Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Inquiry set up into Ireland's banks

Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen will give evidence to an inquiry into Ireland's banks
Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen will give evidence to an inquiry into Ireland's banks

A long-awaited inquiry into Ireland's banks designed to help people move on from the economic crash is being set up immediately, the Government has said.

The inquiry will be televised and is expected to see the cross-examination of former taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen.

It will focus on the State's controversial 440 billion euro guarantee for crisis-ridden banks sealed during a late night meeting in Dublin between the Government and bank chiefs in September 2008.

The role of banks, regulators, auditors and State institutions will also come under the spotlight.

Former Financial Regulator Patrick Neary and senior officials from the Department of Finance will also be expected to give evidence.

The Irish Government confirmed the inquiry would be set up a day after two directors of former rogue lender Anglo Irish Bank walked free from court, having being found guilty of illegal lending in a 450 million euro loans-for-shares scam.

Pat Whelan and Willie McAteer will do community service for their role in the scandal.

Ex-regulator Mr Neary was criticised by the judge during the trial for leading the bankers into error and illegality.

The banking inquiry, agreed at a meeting of the Irish Cabinet this morning, will be carried out by a specially set-up parliamentary committee.

It will be chaired by Ciaran Lynch, a TD (MP) for Cork South Central in the junior coalition partner Labour Party.

A motion discussing the establishment of the inquiry is expected to be debated in the parliament next Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Labour Party leader and Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) Eamon Gilmore said the inquiry was necessary to find out what happened and to allow Irish people move on.

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