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“Banking scandal needs full public scrutiny” – Ó Caoláin

19 January, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Speaking in the Dáil this evening on the banking inquiry, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD stated that such is the scale of the scandal that nothing short of full public scrutiny is acceptable and that the Government’s proposed approach should be rejected in favour of an inquiry conducted in the open by a Joint Oireachtas Committee. He said:

“This inquiry needs to examine and expose in full how the banking sector played a central role in bringing the Irish economy to its knees. It must call to account Government Ministers, top bankers and the so-called regulators who, instead of doing their duty, maintained a cosy relationship with the banks.

“The Irish public has already poured €7 billion in recapitalisation payments to Anglo-Irish, AIB and BoI. Over €50 billion will be spent on NAMA. Billions more is required for future recapitalisation - and the public still don’t know exactly how or why this situation was allowed to develop.

“The inquiry should concern predominantly the failure of regulation and the role that Government played, as well as the conduct of top management at the banks. The role that external auditors played has also to be examined.

“The inquiry must be public and we recommend an all-party Joint Oireachtas Committee – with outside experts being brought in to help with such an investigation. The bulk of the work should be done in public. This is what people have a right to and deserve.

“We fundamentally disagree with the Commission of Investigation as a method to undertake this inquiry. This work could be undertaken by members of the Oireachtas at a great deal less cost to the taxpayer and with full public disclosure. As it stands the public element of this process of investigation will be virtually non-existent.

“The systemic failures that pre-empted this banking crisis and the fact that many of those involved are still in their positions requires a fully transparent examination of the facts.” ENDS

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