Byline: The Mary Ellen Synon COLUMN
THE Government at last appear ready to set up an inquiry into the banking crisis. However, it appears they have decided to do it in the way bishops used to inquire into sex abuse. They want the inquiries to be made in secret, very slowly, with areas for investigation decided by the Government's own appointees.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael and the rest of the opposition want to see an Oireachtas inquiry set up, but Labour in particular wants it done under new legislation, proposed last week by Pat Rabbitte.
What Labour want is a public committee of inquiry made up entirely of Leinster House politicians. They want these politicians to have the power to force any citizen to hand over any information the committee's 'investigator' demands, and to force any citizen to answer any questions 'reasonably' put to him, and to force any citizen to sign a reduced version of his answers as prepared by an inquiry official. The way Labour is going, any committee of inquiry into the banks could easily be confused with Robespierre's Committee of Public Safety.
Since our politicians often say they are inspired by the committee hearings of the two houses of the U.S. Congress, I should remind them …