Independent TD Mattie McGrath has expressed his shock after the Taoiseach explicitly admitted that the delay in the Oireachtas banking inquiry committee starting its work was down to the fact that the Government were waiting to obtain an outright majority in terms of Committee members.
Deputy McGrath was speaking as the astonishing nature of the revelation by the Taoiseach appears to have gone unnoticed and which has opened the Taoiseach and the Government open to charges of manipulation and illegitimate interference in relation to the impartiality of the Inquiry Committee:
“The Houses of the Oireachtas Powers of Inquiry Bill 2011 make it explicitly clear that the terms of reference for an inquiry, with a view to ensuring that the scope of the inquiry is described as precisely as is practicable is not within the gift of the Government but rather resides in the Committee itself.
So if we have an admission by the Taoiseach that he is waiting for a Government majority on the Banking Inquiry Committee to materialise, that clearly signals his intent to manipulate the terms of reference in favour of the Government position.
Unless he expects us to believe that the Fine Gael and Labour members are essentially going to go out of their way to objectively assess the facts when they have a prime opportunity to give Fianna Fail a political black eye then there is no other conclusion to be drawn.
The fact that the Taoiseach casually dropped the remark during the Order of Business yesterday was a major blunder on his part. In relation to allowing the Inquiry members to meet he explicitly stated “: If we (the Government) do not have a majority, we cannot do that. How do I know what the members will do?”
This is an absolutely extraordinary admission and one that requires the Taoiseach to give immediate assurances that he is not interested in politicising this Banking Inquiry but is interested in finding out what happen on a factual basis.
Although we need accountability not a political witch hunt I am afraid that with statements like this coming from the Taoiseach, that possibility is becoming more and more unlikely,” concluded Deputy McGrath.