Government plans inquiry into bank guarantee

Updated: Sunday, 24 Feb 2013 22:10

An inquiry into the banking guarantee of September 2008 will not be "politically motivated" a Government minister has said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the guarantee was needed to establish whether the public bodies involved had discharged their responsibilities.

The Government has repeatedly said it wants an inquiry into the decision to provide a blanket €440bn guarantee to the Irish banking system.

Mr Bruton said it would help identify any failings in legislation or policy that could be remedied to ensure the mistakes of that period were not repeated.

"Our economy and our society suffered a catastrophic impact from what happened," he said.

His Cabinet colleague, Brendan Howlin, the Minister for Public Enterprise and Reform, will shortly publish legislation setting out the legal scope for Oireachtas based inquiries.

The legislation will outline five separate kinds of inquiries that can be pursued, and follows the defeat of the Inquiries Referendum in October 2011 which sought to extend the powers available to politicians to conduct inquiries.

The legislation is expected to be enacted by the summer and an inquiry is likely to follow later in the year.

Asked on The Week in Politics if the timing of the inquiry, re-visiting the controversial decision of the last administration, would suit the Government with the local and European election due in 2014, Mr Bruton said it was not "politically motivated."

Last year the Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Fianna Fáil's John McGuinness, also outlined its proposals for an inquiry into the banking guarantee.