Wednesday 20 November 2019

Stage now set for Neary's appearance at Banking Inquiry

Witness Former financial regulator Patrick Neary
Witness Former financial regulator Patrick Neary

Former Financial Regulator Patrick Neary will today appear before the Banking Inquiry in what is expected to be one of the most crucial meetings since the Oireachtas investigation began.

Several witnesses to date have been extremely critical of Mr Neary, who retired as financial regulator in 2009.

Renua Finance spokesman Billy Timmins, who is not a member of the inquiry team, said he believed Mr Neary's evidence would be critical in shedding light on the banking collapse.

"Given that Mr Neary has been positioned at the heart of the regulation of the banks his testimony is awaited with much anticipation," the Wicklow TD told the Irish Independent last night.

Mr Timmins highlighted Mr Neary's testimony in a high-profile court case, during which he said the lead up to the meltdown of the former Anglo Irish Bank was a "complete blank".

"It is a matter of concern that during two days of evidence in a well-publicised court case Mr Neary said 'I don't recall' 30 times and 'I don't know' 23 times," Mr Timmins said.

"There were also two dozen 'I can't recalls', a handful of responses of 'I have absolutely no recollection' and a plethora of 'I can't, I cannot, or I don't' remember," he added.

Upon leaving office in 2009, Mr Neary received a €630,000 payoff and an annual pension of €134,000. The pension has now been reduced to €114,000 as part of wider public pension reductions.

The so-called 'Nexus Phase' of the Banking Inquiry will also hear from key political figures at the time of the collapse and the bank guarantee, including former Taoisigh Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern.

Irish Independent

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