Monday 23 October 2017

Banks should bear the brunt of regulation costs -- Flynn

Patricia McDonagh

FIANNA Fail backbencher Beverly Flynn last night launched a scathing attack on the cost of regulating the banking sector.

Ms Flynn, who helped banking clients avoid tax in the 1990s, insisted taxpayers should not be saddled with a €78m bill for financial regulation.

And she urged Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to make it his priority to ensure that financial institutions bore the brunt of the "expensive" bill.

In 2004, it emerged the Mayo TD assisted clients of National Irish Bank to avoid tax. She had helped them funnel undeclared income to Clerical Medical schemes based in the Isle of Man.

Expelled

In 2001, she took a High Court case against RTE, who first broke the story, and was temporarily expelled from Fianna Fail after losing this action.

The Supreme Court reaffirmed that her reputation had not been damaged by RTE allegations that she encouraged clients of her employers to avoid the payment of tax.

Speaking during a Dail debate on the Central Bank Reform Bill, Ms Flynn welcomed new provisions to enhance accountability and oversight in financial institutions. But she pointed out such accountability would come at a price that may not be palatable to ordinary citizens.

"Hard-pressed taxpayers who are already funding the recapitalisation of the banks do not want to be saddled with the cost of regulating our financial institutions," she said.

"Regulation, which cost €60m in 2009 alone, is extremely expensive. The enhanced regime will cost in the region of €78m."

Ms Flynn pointed out the financial industry only covered half of this regulation cost.

And she urged Mr Lenihan to ensure that this changed.

"This will be a task for the new Central Bank commission and I suggest it should make it a priority because people need to see that financial institutions are paying for the regulation that has been made necessary by their failure to self-regulate in the past," she said.

Irish Independent

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