Sunday 26 March 2017

Banking panel's advisers should reflect society

A workman removes the Anglo Irish Bank sign from outside the bank's headquarters in St Stephens Green. Photo: Damien Eagers
A workman removes the Anglo Irish Bank sign from outside the bank's headquarters in St Stephens Green. Photo: Damien Eagers

SO now we know. The Oireachtas banking inquiry depends almost entirely on Official Ireland for advice. Of the nine people selected to help shape the committee's deliberations, eight are either existing or former public sector employees. The only exception is Megan Greene. She is an economist who works for a US advisory fund as well as being the only woman and the only foreign-based adviser.

This is not to cast any doubt on the quality of the remaining eight members who are giving up their time voluntarily to help the committee. Each one of these eight men has served this country well. The problem is not with individuals. The problem is with the system itself.

A system that only uses advisers who are in a position to work for free effectively excludes the vast majority of people in the private sector. State employees rarely have a problem taking time off to advise the Government. The rest of the population is not so lucky.

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