Saturday 10 December 2016

Honohan a little trigger happy with more bad news

Emmet Oliver

Published 19/08/2010 | 05:00

Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan taking part in the 'Prospects for a New Economic and Monetary Balance between East & West' forum in Hong Kong on Monday
Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan taking part in the 'Prospects for a New Economic and Monetary Balance between East & West' forum in Hong Kong on Monday

The Government could be forgiven for wanting Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan to cut short his long haul trip to Hong Kong.

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Honohan's admittedly frank answers to questions about the banks, on the margins of a conference of central bankers in Asia, has caused no end of political damage to vacationing government representatives.

It also provided fresh political meat to hungry opposition spokespeople, like Joan Burton and Kieran O'Donnell, in the lean days of August.

Irish Nationwide could ultimately cost over €3bn, Honohan bluntly told financial wire services, while last week he was lambasting bond buyers calling their decision to dump Irish debt "ridiculous''.

It's not often that a public figure in under seven days manages to annoy both taxpayers and international creditors, but the former TCD academic managed it.

Arguably that is as it should be. We need an independent central bank governor who can speak without restriction or worries over potential political embarrassment.

But the information that there may be an almost 20pc increase in the likely capital cost of Irish Nationwide should arguably be disseminated in a more formal way, otherwise creditors will automatically conclude that banking policy is being made on the hoof.

Irish Independent

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