‘Insufficient critique’ – The Oireachtas Banking Inquiry and the media

Open access


A parliamentary inquiry into the Irish banking collapse was formally established in November 2014, tasked with examining relevant issues from the period of January 1992 to December 2013. In focusing on the role played by the media - and where reportage may have impacted on, or contributed to, the crisis - the Banking Inquiry heard from eight senior media executives who held either commercial or editorial positions in four media organisations in Ireland during the period of the economic boom and subsequent collapse. This article focuses on the engagement of these media witnesses with the inquiry, drawing on written submissions and oral evidence. Having reviewed the place of journalism in a democracy and examined the role of journalism during the economic crisis, the article considers the Banking Inquiry’s final report, specifically in relation to the media. The review concludes that this parliamentary inquiry did not assist in advancing a serious understanding of the work undertaken by the Irish media in the pre-2007 period and that, ultimately, for all involved this engagement was a missed opportunity.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Albaek E. (2011). The interaction between experts and journalists in news journalism. Journalism 12 (3) 325-48.

  • Berry M. (2012). The Today programme and the banking crisis. Journalism 14 (2) 1-18.

  • Berry M. (2016). No alternative to austerity: How BBC broadcast news reported the deficit debate. Media Culture & Society 38 (6) 1-20.

  • Christians C. G. Glasser T. L. McQuail D. Nordenstreng K. & White R. A. (2009). Normative theories of the media journalism in democratic societies. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

  • Commission of Investigation into the Banking Sector in Ireland. (2011). Misjudging risk: Causes of the systemic banking crisis in Ireland. Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Banking Sector in Ireland. Dublin: The Stationery Office.

  • Davis A. (2000). Public relations business news and the reproduction of corporate elite power. Journalism 1 (3) 282-304.

  • Deuze M. (2005). What is journalism? Professional identity and ideology of journalists reconsidered. Journalism 6 (4) 442-64.

  • Donovan D. & Murphy A. E. (2013). The fall of the Celtic tiger: Ireland and the euro debt crisis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Doyle G. (2006). Financial news journalism: A post-Enron analysis of approaches towards economic and financial news production in the UK. Journalism 7 (4) 433-52.

  • Entman R. (1993). Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of Communication 43 (4) 51-8.

  • Fahy D. O’Brien M. & Poti V. (2010). From boom to bust: A post-Celtic tiger analysis of the norms values and roles of Irish financial journalists. Irish Communications Review 12 5-20.

  • Gans H. (1980). Deciding what’s news. A study of CBS Evening News NBC Nightly News Newsweek and Time. New York: Vintage.

  • Hallin D. C. & Mancini P. (2004). Comparing media systems: Three models of media and politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. (2014). Terms of reference for the Banking Inquiry. Retrieved from https://inquiries.oireachtas.ie/banking/about-the-inquiry/terms-of-reference/ [4 April 2017].

  • Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. (2015). Banking Inquiry to hold media module hearings next week [press release]. Retrieved from https://inquiries.oireachtas.ie/banking/banking-inquiry-to-hold-mediamodule-hearings-next-week/ [4 April 2017].

  • Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. (2016a). Report of the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. Volume 1: Report. Retrieved from https://inquiries.oireachtas.ie/banking/volume-1-eport/contents/ [4 April 2017].

  • Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. (2016b). Report of the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. Volume 2: Inquiry framework. Retrieved from https://inquiries.oireachtas.ie/banking/volume-2-inquiry-framework/contents/ [4 April 2017].

  • Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. (2016c). Report of the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis. Volume 3: Evidence. Retrieved from https://inquiries.oireachtas.ie/banking/hearings-evidence/ [4 April 2017].

  • Kelly F. (2014 September 24). Editors and media executives may face banking inquiry. The Irish Times.

  • Kovach B. & Rosenstiel T. (2007). The elements of journalism: What newspeople should know and the public should expect (1st rev. ed). New York: Three Rivers Press.

  • Manning P. (2013). Financial journalism news sources and the banking crisis.v Journalism 14 (2) 173-89.

  • McMenamin I. Flynn R. O’Malley E. & Rafter K. (2013). Commercialism and election framing: A content analysis of twelve newspapers in the 2011 Irish general election. International Journal of Press/Politics 18 (2) 167-87.

  • McQuail D. (2003). Media accountability and freedom of publication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Mercille J. (2013). The role of the media in sustaining Ireland’s housing bubble. New Political Economy 19 (2) 282-301.

  • Rafter K. (2013 November 13). The tiger years: How well did Irish media hold financial elites to account? The Irish Times.

  • Rafter K. (2014). Voices in the crisis: The media elites who interpreted Ireland’s banking collapse. European Journal of Communications 29 (5) 598-607.

  • Rafter K. & Dunne S. (2016). The Irish journalist today. Retrieved from http://theirishjournalisttoday.com/Journalism2016.pdf [4 April 2017].

  • Schudson M. (2008). Why democracies need an unlovable press. Malden MA: Polity.

  • Shoemaker P. & Vos T. (2009). Gatekeeping theory. New York: Routledge.

  • Starkman D. (2009 May/June). Power problem. Columbia Journalism Review 24-30.

  • Tambini D. (2010). What are financial journalists for? Journalism Studies 11 (2) 158-74.

  • Tett G. (2009). Fool’s gold: How unrestricted greed corrupted a dream shattered global markets and unleashed a catastrophe. London: Little Brown

Journal information
Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 229 94 5
PDF Downloads 114 75 7