Taoiseach: Gov majority on banking inquiry is 'will of the people'

The Taoiseach said moves to give the Government a majority on the Banking Inquiry reflect "the will of the people".

Enda Kenny says a majority is needed on every Oireachtas Committee to agree to terms of reference and ensure its work is completed.

Fianna Fáil members have been meeting in Leinster House to discuss the matter - amid accusations from the opposition that the changes amount to "gerrymandering" and "skulduggery"

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he has heard the criticisms, but said the inquiry will be fair.

He believes Taoiseach Enda Kenny is running scared and so therefore wants to control what's examined and what witnesses are called.

"I've heard terms about Nazism and Russian colonies and so on - every Oireachtas committee always reflects the will of a people in a democratic society," he said.

"My point is that you're not going to have politics on this committee … you need to able to approve terms of reference, a work schedule, and you need to able to approve a report at the end of it."

One of the Independents on the committee said he is now not sure he wants to be involved.

Stephen Donnelly said the addition two coalition Senators means the banking inquiry will no longer be independent.

"You couldn't possibly not have a majority, because then the 'Independent Oireachtas inquiry' might do things you don't want it to do.

"So maybe he's heard me say before I'd like to call Minister Michael Noonan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the inquiry …"

"And he's thought: 'well … I have to be able to stop them doing that, so I, through my people on the committee, will determine the terms of reference."

Meanwhile, Senator David Norris said the unilateral action has seriously compromised the Banking Inquiry.

He said he used his vote at the initial meeting of the Committee on Selection to ensure that the Banking Inquiry would be fully independent.

He describes the action of the Government as regrettable.

Senator Norris says he now fears the Inquiry will be reduced to a game of political football and the Irish people will gain nothing.

The Taoiseach admitted that events should not have happened "the way they did", he said the response from a number of Senators had been "hysterical".

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