Sunday 17 December 2017

Vital for Dame Street to retain top team as bailout draws to a close

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

WE'RE getting used to hearing about high-level departures from the Central Bank. We've seen deputy governor Matthew Elderfield, his former deputy Jonathan McMahon and the head of corporate enforcement Peter Oakes all leave the institution in favour of pastures new.

That heavy turnover of senior figures who all joined the Central Bank from abroad shows clearly how Dame Street has served as a stepping stone for international talent who honed their reputations dealing with the fallout from the financial crisis.

And that's perfectly reasonable. At least it's reasonable for them to want to go, but it's equally reasonable for us to want them to stay. The concern for Patrick Honohan and Michael Noonan now is to ensure that they can not only attract talent, but retain it.

We are now on the cusp of leaving the bailout, and there is a more benign economic climate than in the dark days of 2010, but the events of recent weeks involving Royal Sun Alliance Ireland and Newbridge Credit Union show that issues remain which the Central Bank needs to tackle head on.

The Dame Street bank presided over endless regulatory failures during the boom years which have come back to haunt us in spectacular fashion, and under Patrick Honohan it has had to work hard to restore credibility in the eyes of a disillusioned public.

But we have a short memory at times and the concern is that once better times return the allure of strict regulation may not be quite as fashionable.

Now, more than ever, the Central Bank needs to have competent, assertive and even contrarian voices to help ensure the mistakes of the past are left in the past, where they belong.

Irish Independent

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