Saturday 17 February 2018

Dáil committee will approve plans for ECB to scrutinise legislation

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy Photo: Tom Burke
Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A Dáil committee is today expected to pave the way for certain legislation to be scrutinised by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Members of the newly established business committee are to agree to change the Dáil's standing orders so that bills that have an impact on the State's finances are sent to the ECB for consultation.

The measure has been in place since the passing of the Maastricht Treaty. However, they only applied to bills that were proposed by the Government.

Now that Opposition parties can pass bills given the new Dáil arithmetic, the ECB has contacted the Oireachtas and warned that its opinion must be sought in relation to private members' bills.

Although the opinion is not binding and cannot prevent the legislation from being passed, any failure to contact the ECB could open the Oireachtas up to hefty fines. The ECB is understood to have contacted the Oireachtas about the issue following the passing of Fianna Fáil's private members' bill on mortgages.

The bill, which gives the Central Bank new powers to regulate the market, was passed despite the opposition of the Government.

The business committee is today expected to approve standing orders which would see the Oireachtas Finance Committee send the ECB any bill that could have an impact on the State's finances.

One member of the committee, Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy, said she did not feel comfortable about the move. However, she said the committee "does not seem to have a choice" given that the measure is contained in the Maastricht Treaty that was passed by way of a referendum.

"I and others aren't happy about this, but given that its laid down in the Maastricht Treaty, it seems our hands are tied," Ms Murphy said.

Irish Independent

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