* First public inquiry into collapse follows banker trial
* No one jailed in landmark Anglo Irish Bank case
* Judge said regulator led bankers to "illegality"
By Neil Maidment
DUBLIN, April 30 The Irish government ordered an
immediate public inquiry into the 2008 collapse of the country's
banking sector on Wednesday, a day after a criminal trial
against executives of the bank at the heart of the crisis ended
without any jail sentences.
The collapse and nationalisation of some of Ireland's
largest banks forced the government to accept an 85 billion-euro
($115 billion) international bailout and voters have expressed
frustration at how few people have been held accountable.
Two senior executives at Anglo Irish Bank were found guilty
earlier this month of illegal lending and providing unlawful
assistance to investors, but on Wednesday a judge decided not to
impose any jail sentences.
Instead, Judge Martin Nolan at Dublin's Circuit Criminal
Court said the pair were "led into error and illegality" by the
country's financial regulator and referred them to the probation
office for possible community service.
"There is a compelling demand from the public to know what
happened," Public Expenditure minister Brendan Howlin told
journalists. "And I think there are a lot of unanswered
questions that emerged from the court proceedings that should be
answered by those directly responsible."
The government said in a statement it hoped a motion to
establish the inquiry would be put to parliament next Tuesday.
Anglo Irish became synonymous with the casino-style lending
practices that drove the "Celtic Tiger" boom and subsequent
bust, but the country's two largest lenders, Allied Irish Banks
and Bank of Ireland, also required
Public outrage in Ireland, where public-sector salaries have
been cut and taxes hiked as a direct result of the crisis,
intensified after a newspaper last year published transcripts of
taped telephone conversations between executives of Anglo Irish
In one tape, an executive was asked how he came up with the
size of a 7 billion-euro rescue request and said he had "picked
it out of my arse."
(Additional reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Larry