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TD Murphy lashes ECB's 'pathetic' snub to Banking Inquiry


Eoghan Murphy

Eoghan Murphy

Eoghan Murphy

A FINE Gael politician has hit out at the European Central Bank over its "pathetic" decision to refuse a request to appear in front of the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry.

Dublin Bay South TD Eoghan Murphy rounded on the ECB last night but said its snub will not inhibit the Inquiry from completing its work.

It's emerged that the ECB told the Inquiry team that it is not willing to engage over the banking collapse because it is not accountable to the Irish parliament.

The institution is also understood to be unhappy with remarks made by inquiry chairman and Labour TD Ciaran Lynch at an event earlier this year.

The event in question was hosted by the Institute of European Affairs in April and involved Inquiry members posing questions to former ECB President Jean Claude Trichet.

During the session, Mr Lynch indicated that the Inquiry team will seek engagement from ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio and that the information he provides could be used as "evidence" ahead of the publication of its final report.

Mr Lynch and his colleagues were keen to hear from Mr Constancio because he served at senior level within the ECB prior to the Irish crash.

It had been anticipated that the ECB would appear in front of the Inquiry at a neutral location and engage in an "informal exchange of views" similar to the arrangements put in place for Mr Trichet.

However, the ECB felt that the comments made by Mr Lynch at the Trichet hearing implied that any information provided by the ECB would be categorised as evidence rather than part of an "informal exchange of views".

Mr Lynch last night described the ECB's stance as "unfortunate" and "regrettable".

Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy described the ECB's stance as "pathetic".

"But it won't keep us from completing our work," he told the Herald.

Public hearings at the Banking Inquiry will conclude this week. Among the witnesses scheduled are Finance Minister Michael Noonan and former IMF member Ajai Chopra.