David Drumm video evidence now looks ‘unlikely’
Former Anglo Irish Bank boss David Drumm is unlikely to give evidence at the Banking Inquiry by video link later this week, it has emerged.
The prospect of Mr Drumm - who is the subject of an extradition effort by the Irish authorities - giving his evidence by video link from America has risked splitting the 11-member committee and derailing the inquiry, which is now in its final weeks.
Today the committee members are expected to be given the advice of its lawyers and the response from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the potential video hearing pencilled in for Wednesday afternoon.
The speculation last night was that one or both may advise against going ahead with the video hearing and thus defuse a very damaging row.
Michael McGrath of Fianna Fail and Eoghan Murphy of Fine Gael have made it clear that they cannot continue on the committee if Mr Drumm is allowed to testify in this way.
Both said Mr Drumm should return and testify in person, and also co-operate with authorities in examining the circumstances surrounding the 2008 collapse of Anglo Irish Bank, which cost Irish taxpayers €28bn.
A third member, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins, said he would decide tomorrow after the committee hears legal advice.
He said some people wanted to hear from Mr Drumm, but others felt strongly that allowing video evidence was an insult to those who suffered in the banking collapse.
Chairman Ciaran Lynch said the committee would meet in a private session tomorrow to consider the lawyers' advice and the reaction of the DPP.
"When we have all the necessary information we can make an informed decision," Mr Lynch told the Herald.
The chairman would not comment on the implications if members withdrew.
So far, proceedings are conducted on condition that all members are present for all sessions, in line with the legal advice.
Separately, a senior counsel has been appointed to review allegations by a whistleblower that the Finance Department and Central Bank were given preferential treatment by the Banking Inquiry.
Senan Allen SC is expected to report next month on the allegations by a member of the committee's back-up advisory team.