Thursday 19 April 2018

Banking inquiry: Five top questions that need to be answered

Paddy wants to know what happened in lead up to night of bank guarantee

Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

WHILE the banking inquiry has gotten off to a shaky start, there are questions that need to be answered once its gets off the ground today.

The 11 member committee meets in private to discuss how to proceed and set out the terms of reference for the inquiry.

Here are five top questions that still remain years after the banking and economic collapse and the pumping of €64bn into the banks.

1. Where's the paper trail?

We're blue in the face hearing there's no paper trail in relation to what happened in the run-up to the night of the bank guarantee. That's simply not good enough. Either the civil servants took notes or they didn't. And if not, why not? Paddy simply wants to know.

2. How did the banks get it so wrong? Bingeing on property largely got us to where we are now, recovering from the economic downturn. While the Regling & Watson report gives us a good idea on how the system failed, we need to know from bank executives and board members how they made the decisions they did and why.

3. Were we bullied by Europe and how? Correspondence from the from the ECB, the European Commission, etc. We need to see as much as possible. As it became increasingly obvious that Ireland took one for the European team, the talk on a bank debt deal became the loudest. That seems like a dream now and that correspondence, or its contents, could be a key card in securing that deal.

4. Just where was the regulation? While a Patrick Honohan report has already outlined failures, this could also teach us valuable lessons for the future. What happened at the Central Bank, for example. And how did so-called light touch regulation play into this years earlier and right back to the early 2000s.

5. Where was the Department of Finance in all of this? This is something that may never be fully unearthed. But what advice, if any, was given to the then Finance Minister Brian Lenihan ahead of the bank guarantee. And who gave it? And why the denial right up to the arrival of the EU/ECB/IMF troika and what happened after they arrived in relation to bondholder treatment, for example?

Ailish O'Hora




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