Sinn Fein finance spokesman refuses to sign off on banking inquiry report
Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty has said he will not sign off on the contentious report of the banking inquiry.
Amid deep concern that the entire process will collapse over the content and tone of key chapters and conclusions, the party’s finance spokesman confirmed he does not believe it will answer the big questions.
Mr Doherty said people have a right to expect that a report would finger those responsible for Ireland’s bankruptcy.
“When I agreed to take part in the banking inquiry, foremost in my mind were the people who have lost their homes and businesses, the cuts inflicted on our public services and the generation forced into emigration because of the banking crisis,” the Donegal TD said.
“The people have the right to know how the banking crisis came about, who was responsible and to be assured that it would never happen again.”
Mr Doherty is the first member of the 11-strong Oireachtas committee to formally walk away from last-ditch talks on striking a balance in the report while Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins is also reportedly not prepared to sign off.
Members were locked in a meeting for a second day today in an attempt to finalise their draft findings with the deadline for its publication due in late January.
Chairman Ciaran Lynch insisted in recent days that he was persevering with talks on the conclusions in the report and attempting to strike agreement on consensus.
The document will have to be vetted by a senior counsel while affected politicians, bankers and others will also be given time to examine it and make submissions.
The five million euro inquiry sat for several months and heard 413 hours of evidence and received 42,000 documents in relation to the period leading up to and including the State’s financial collapse.
It can make limited findings against individuals but, with commitments to publish before the Dail is dissolved ahead of the general election, it last week agreed to extend its deadline to January 27.
Mr Doherty added: “I have worked constructively on the inquiry to get to the full truth of what happened.
“While the report includes new information, it fails to fully answer the questions regarding how the crisis came about and who was responsible.
“Our people deserve the full truth. That is why I am unable to not sign off on the committee report.”
Later, Mr Doherty accepted there is some new information in the chapters of the report but declined to cite specifically what he believed was missing or what areas did not go far enough.
Committee members were bound to give concerned parties the right to reply before revealing the detail of the findings.
The committee is understood to have agreed the content of the main body of the report with work continuing on finalising the conclusions.
Mr Doherty said he does not believe the report goes to the heart of the issue to identify what the causes of the economic crisis were and who was responsible.
“When you step back from it all and ask that key question, does this tell the full story of what the people deserve to know then it doesn’t, and that’s the question I asked myself,” he said.
Mr Doherty said he believed the report could have had a different focus but that other committee members were under no illusions about his concerns.
After a day of discussions on the draft report, Mr Higgins confirmed he would not support it as it stood.
The Socialist TD said he would outline his reasons tomorrow.