Friday 24 November 2017

Retired Neary comes to the fore yet again

Ronald Quinlan and Maeve Sheehan

former financial regulator Patrick Neary may have fallen from favour in the corridors of power -- but one club still wants him as a member.

Mr Neary has joined the gardai's favourite golf club at Stackstown in south Dublin. The career civil servant has had plenty of time to work on his handicap since he stood down in the fall-out of the banking scandal in 2008 with a €600,000 golden handshake.

He is believed to have joined Stackstown -- whose most famous member is Padraig Harrington -- relatively recently. The golf club was founded in 1976 exclusively for gardai. Over the years, it has accepted civilian members, although applicants are asked to provide four referees, including one from a garda.

Mr Neary, who was the official watchdog for the banking sector, is likely to be an important witness in the various investigations into the banking crisis.

The Public Accounts Committee is pushing for a probe into the events leading to the night of the bank guarantee. The Garda Fraud Squad is investigating financial irregularities at Anglo Irish Bank in the months before its collapse. The bank's former chairman Sean FitzPatrick and two other executives were charged from that investigation.

Separate reports have criticised Mr Neary's time as financial regulator. In his report, Patrick Honohan, governor of the Central Bank, said that Mr Neary appeared "unwilling to rock the boat".

Three days before the bank guarantee which signed away Ireland's financial sovereignty, Mr Neary still claimed Anglo Irish Bank was not insolvent.

Sunday Independent

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