Belfast Telegraph

Honohan doubts role of inquiry

The governor of the Republic's Central Bank has questioned plans for a Commission of Inquiry into the banking collapse, suggesting that a series of reports and public hearings might achieve a better outcome.

Patrick Honohan's comments at an Irish parliament committee hearing yesterday come a week after he published a damning report into the fiscal and regulatory failures that brought Ireland's financial system to its knees.

He said: "My difficulty is in understanding what the motivation, nature, and goal of an inquiry would be. I'm saying let's push that idea back and see whether we really need it."

Similar reports into individual banks could be commissioned by independent authors, he suggested, while public hearings could be used to explore the "motivations" of key actors in various events.

That approach could be both cheaper and faster than the mooted Commission, and could also yield better results than an inquiry whose purpose is "not really fully flushed out", Prof Honohan said.

Prof Honohan also expressed concerns that giving into populist appetite for a public inquiry could ultimately limit the quality of the information any investigation could uncover.

"If you want to get to grips with factual matters, you can make a lot of progress in private and that's the most effective way," he said.