If we are honest about it, the subject of tribunals is somewhat taboo in the Oireachtas and among politicians generally. All the tribunals are especially effective and laudable inquiries but they do have politicians in their sights. In discussing tribunals, we all tend to tread around them rather softly. The reality is that whereas their objective is something we share in that everyone wants to see the truth, they have lost their way.
These tribunals are simply an industry at this stage. They are not inquiries. They manufacture substantial sums of money for people of very modest ability. I include in that some of those sitting there and some of the lawyers involved as well. It is in the interests of those involved in the tribunals to keep them going because they earn so much money. There is a danger that people involved in the tribunals, although not necessarily those presiding over them, are perpetuating them for the sake of earning that particularly easy money.
I heard on “Today with Pat Kenny” and other shows that the banks are getting €13,000 for making an inquiry. If that is true, it is crazy. The banks reveal discovery of someone’s account and send in a bill to the tribunal for €13,000 per inquiry. This is madness and a waste of the State’s money.
The Tánaiste has rightly and courageously raised an issue which should be discussed seriously in this House. It is not undermining the purpose, objective and final results of the inquiry to say “Stop”. These tribunals have got out of hand and are a waste of money. They are making privileged people of modest ability very rich.