Friday 15 December 2017

TDs label ECB 'pathetic' over its snub to the Banking Inquiry

Labour's Ciaran Lynch
Labour's Ciaran Lynch
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

TDs have lashed out at the European Central Bank (ECB) over its "pathetic" snub to the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry.

The EU institution has formally refused a request to put forward a representative to appear in front of inquiry members in order to discuss Ireland's banking collapse.

Despite previously indicating a willingness to engage with the inquiry, the ECB has now claimed that it is not accountable to the Irish legislature.

It is also unhappy with remarks made by inquiry chairman and Labour TD Ciarán Lynch following the questioning of former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet in April.

Mr Lynch indicated that the inquiry team would seek the engagement of ECB vice-president Vítor Constancio and that his information could be used as "evidence" ahead of the publication of the inquiry's final report.

Mr Lynch and his colleagues were keen to hear from Mr Constancio because he served at senior level within the ECB prior to the Irish crash. It had been anticipated that the ECB would appear in front of the inquiry at a neutral location and engage in an "informal exchange of views" similar to the arrangements that were put in place for Mr Trichet.

However, the ECB felt that the comments made by Mr Lynch implied that any information provided by the ECB would be categorised as evidence, rather than part of an "informal exchange of views".

Mr Lynch described the ECB's stance as "regrettable".

Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy said the ECB's position was "pathetic" but insisted that it would not inhibit the inquiry from completing its work.

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath said a lack of an ECB representative "undoubtedly results in a deficit in the work of the inquiry".

Meanwhile, this week the inquiry will hear from its last witnesses, including Finance Minister Michael Noonan and the former IMF official Ajai Chopra.


Irish Independent

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