The Government has already indicated that it is determined to uncover the causes of the banking crisis in Ireland that caused such devastation in the Irish economy and necessitated the bailout from our international partners in late 2010. The key mechanism to achieve this will be the establishment of a formal inquiry into the banking crisis, enabling all those involved to come before the inquiry and provide the necessary information in order for the truth to be uncovered.
In this regard, the Government has published the Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Bill, which, once enacted, will provide the legal framework for a banking inquiry to be held within the current constitutional parameters. This legislation is being prioritised both in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and in the Office of the Attorney General. I expect the Bill to be enacted before the summer recess and that, once the legislation is on the Statute Book, the Houses of the Oireachtas will move quickly to progress the inquiry.
The purpose of the proposed legislation is to establish a comprehensive statutory framework for the Oireachtas to conduct inquiries within the current constitutional framework as set down by the Supreme Court in the Abbeylara judgment. The Bill provides extensive safeguards to protect the constitutional rights of witnesses, to confirm unfettered access to the courts and to guarantee fair procedures. The Oireachtas inquiry can build on the information provided in the Honohan report, the Regling and Watson report and the Nyberg report. The witnesses will be called and documents discovered to provide a complete picture of the events leading to the banking collapse.
The Nyberg investigation's terms of reference were set up under statutory powers. We must ensure that the proposed inquiry now being considered is carefully constituted so as to avoid the risk of prejudicing any future criminal proceeding. I expect that the proposed inquiry will be conducted in a practical and efficient manner. I also expect it to be a thorough examination that will deliver a clear understanding of the banking collapse and that it will be transparent and valuable to the State and citizens.
Ireland's place in the international arena cannot be compromised. We welcome the transparency and closure that this inquiry will bring and want it to give Ireland the opportunity to learn from this painful experience.