Irish lawmakers open fact-finding probe into causes, painful lessons of banking crisis

DUBLIN – Irish lawmakers have opened a fact-finding investigation into the causes of Ireland’s banking crisis, when a collapsing property market exposed reckless lending and required an emergency international bailout.

Wednesday’s opening session featured testimony from Finnish financial expert Peter Nyberg, author of a 2011 government-commissioned report into the crisis.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny hopes to publish findings by November 2015. The televised hearings represent the first time that key players in the catastrophe — bankers, regulators, former ministers and property developers — will publicly explain their role in the unfolding disaster.

Ireland’s banks faced ruin as a decade-long construction boom ground to a halt in 2008. The government nationalized most banks to forestall their collapse but soaring costs forced Ireland to take an EU-IMF loan rescue in 2010.