Healy O'Connor

Government to Proceed with Banking Inquiry

The Government will today announce an inquiry into the causes of the banking crisis, but a significant portion of the investigative work is expected to take place behind closed doors.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan will bring proposals for an inquiry to a meeting of Cabinet before informing the Dáil this afternoon of the format which his colleagues have agreed upon.

Mr Lenihan and Taoiseach Brian Cowen held separate meetings with Green Party leader John Gormley yesterday as the coalition partners continued their discussion of the issue.

The Greens have demanded a “public element” to the inquiry, and a spokesman for Mr Gormley said “progress” had been made at the meeting with Mr Cowen.

However, a spokesman for Mr Cowen refused to comment on the meeting, saying: “We never discuss what he says with his ministers.”

Fine Gael and Labour have claimed Mr Cowen is reluctant to hold a full public inquiry because of the spotlight it would shine on his four-year tenure as finance minister.

And the Opposition reacted sharply last night to speculation that the bulk of the investigative work would be done behind closed doors by a commission of inquiry, followed by Oireachtas hearings which would publicly consider the commission’s report.

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