The report of the Banking Inquiry published as Volume 1 is the Joint Committee’s principal legacy. However there is another part to that legacy. As the first Joint Committee to plan, commence and successfully complete an Inquiry under Part 2 of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013 (“the 2013 Act”), we have road-tested this complex legislation. And as the first such Inquiry, we faced the dual challenge of designing the methodology to conduct the Inquiry in real time while also running the Inquiry.
Volume 2 is intended to provide a useful reference manual for future inquiries, by telling the story of how the inquiry was planned and delivered. It includes the detailed Operating Model agreed by the Joint Committee to support the effective running of the Banking Inquiry to very strict timescales while also respecting the constitutional and statutory framework within which it operated.
Volume 2 makes a number of recommendations for changes to legislation and for the running of future inquiries. These recommendations draw on the Joint Committee’s experience and form part of the Joint Committee’s overall recommendations.
Volume 2 also outlines in detail the use of the Joint Committee’s statutory powers and broadly analyses the level of co-operation with the inquiry, both at institutional participant and individual witness level.
Given the unique challenges which the Banking Inquiry faced, the Joint Committee had to prioritise its approach having regard to the limited time and staff resources available to it. The Joint Committee decided to compel documents and witnesses in order to facilitate planning and safeguard witness rights. The Joint Committee had limited capacity to conduct a detailed exercise to assess compliance against its directions to provide documents to the Inquiry. While not ideal, the Joint Committee does not believe that a lack of documentation prejudiced its ability to carry out an effective inquiry.
There was (with one exception) full compliance with the Joint Committee’s directions to attend public hearings and this is welcomed by the Joint Committee. The failure of David Drumm to attend is dealt with in detail in Chapter 7.
Again, the Joint Committee received a good level of co-operation on a voluntary basis from many institutional participants and individual witnesses. However, the Joint Committee remains critical of the failure of the ECB in particular, to co-operate with the Inquiry, while acknowledging that there was no legal obligation on it to do so. The attitude of the ECB stands in stark contrast to the full co-operation and engagement offered by the European Commission and the IMF. The Joint Committee considers that it is in the public interest to give details of its engagement with the ECB as part of its final report, and has done so in Volume 2.
In the current economic climate, parliamentary inquiries must be seen to be cost-effective and time-efficient in comparison with other forms of inquiry. This Volume reports on the final cost of the Inquiry, in keeping with the Joint Committee’s commitment to transparency of running costs from the outset.
The Banking Inquiry is the first of its type and has been challenging and complex from a legal, process and timing perspective. I believe that we have demonstrated that the Houses of the Oireachtas can carry out fair, balanced and cost-effective inquiries. I hope that our work will pave the way for future parliamentary inquiries in the public interest.
Ciarán Lynch, T.D,
Chairman of the Joint Committee.