Sunday 4 December 2016

Liam Barron

ROISIN BURKE

Published 12/02/2012 | 05:00

ON retiring as director general of the Central Bank, Liam Barron eschewed approaches to get involved in anything else. After a 45-year career, he was ready for a quieter life.

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On leaving the CBS in Dungarvan, he joined the Central Bank as a clerk in 1962. He took a degree and MA in business, moving up the bank food chain, and working across all its main departments. He became deputy director general in 1995, responsible for financial markets and financial operations and was intensely involved in preparing for the euro changeover.

He was appointed director general (Number Two to governor John Hurley) five years later. He was in charge of banking supervision and relations with the ECB and became a director of the new Financial Services Authority set up as part of a reform process in 2003.

In 2004 the Central Bank warned that property borrowing could make Ireland one of the most indebted states in the EU. The bank didn't see an imminent risk, though Barron said at the time that this position assumed no major shock to the economic system. Later that year Barron said the risk to borrowers with big mortgages in the event of a recession was very obvious.

When he retired at 65 in mid-2007, house price rises were just beginning to tail off and Anglo's St Patrick's Day Massacre was still a year away.

He lives in Dublin but spends time in Kerry and enjoys gardening and hill walking.

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