Business Irish

Saturday 10 December 2016

Central Banker Patrick Honohan says his successor should have a beard or a skirt

Published 01/05/2015 | 13:34

CENTRAL Bank governor Patrick Honohan, who is stepping down from the job later this year, has left the race for his job wide open.

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He quipped at a press conference today that his successor should have a beard, like himself, or wear a dress.

"A beard I think wouid be essential....or a skirt," he said when he was asked what attributes his successor should have.

Indeed, some of the most famous economists sport beards including Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz,  Paul Krugman, economist at Princeton University as well as former Fed boss Ben Bernanke.

The dress, however, would mean a first at the top of the Central Bank as a woman  has never held the role of Governor.

That doesn't rule out a woman in the top position at the Central Bank, however.

Governor of the Central Bank Dr Patrick Honohan
Pic:Mark Condren
Governor of the Central Bank Dr Patrick Honohan Pic:Mark Condren

One possibility is top Department of Finance official Ann Nolan, who has worked towards restoring the banks to good health.

Another is the outspoken Fiona Muldoon, - she was once third in command at the bank but has moved on to the private sector and now works for FBD Insurance..

Ms Muldoon hit the headlines during her time in Dame Street when she compared top bankers to surly teenagers, for their failure to get on top of the mortgage crisis.

Mr Honohan was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland in 2009 by the now deceased Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, one year after the banks were guaranteed to the tune of €440bn euro  and a year before Ireland ended up with an €85bn international bailout.

Mr Honohan will be remembered for phoning the RTE's Morning Ireland in late 2010 to tell the nation that Irish banks needed a multi-billion bailout while the government was still publicly in denial.

There has been some speculation that there may have been tensions between Mr Honohan and the current cabinet over the perceived failure of Government to address issues like the mortgage crisis.

However, Mr Honohan added today that he told Finance Minister MIchael Noonan of his decision to resign last month.

Mr Noonan, he said, was surprised at the news.

The Central Bank announced record profits of €2.1bn for 2014 at the launch of its annual report today.

It added that €1.7bn of this profit is being paid back to the Exchequer.

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