Friday 15 December 2017

Banks probe still needs to shine light into the darkest corners

Banking inquiry has had two unproductive weeks, says Colm McCarthy, who argues the terms of the Trichet appearance should have been declined

Jean-Claude Trichet
Jean-Claude Trichet
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

the banking inquiry has had two unproductive weeks. The dog-and-pony show at the Royal Hospital a week last Thursday gave Jean-Claude Trichet a platform from which to declaim his personal narrative about the eurozone mess. This narrative has few adherents aside from its author.

Trichet gave Ireland's elected public representatives no new information about the ECB's role in aggravating the self-inflicted wounds that have proved so costly. The terms of engagement accepted by the Oireachtas committee ensured this outcome, and should have been declined. When Vitor Constancio, the European Central Bank's vice-president, comes to give evidence in June he will address the finance committee rather than the banking inquiry proper, another contrivance designed to duck even the appearance of accountability. In the light of the Trichet performance, the Inquiry should consider whether this visit from Constancio is worth the effort.

The most prominent witnesses at the inquiry this past week have been current and former senior personnel at several of the banks which went bust. The public knows quite a lot about aspects of the Irish banking collapse, one of the biggest banking busts ever to have occurred anywhere.

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