The full participation of the European Central Bank (ECB) is essential for an effective Oireachtas Banking Inquiry, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance and Inquiry member Michael McGrath.
Deputy McGrath was reacting to comments from ECB President Mario Draghi in the European Parliament yesterday to the effect that the ECB would not formally participate in the Banking Inquiry.
Deputy McGrath stated, “The involvement of the ECB in the forthcoming Oireachtas Banking Inquiry is not an optional extra, it is fundamental to the essence of the Inquiry. My view on this is crystal clear. An effective Banking Inquiry requires the full cooperation and participation of all the main actors involved in the banking crisis, both domestic and international, including bankers, regulators, politicians, civil servants, auditors, professional advisors and the ECB. Any Inquiry without the full cooperation and participation of each of these main actors – including the ECB – would be devalued.
“I note that Mario Draghi had no difficulty finding his way to the Bundestag on 24 October 2012 to defend the ECB policy responses to the challenges facing the euro area economy in front of members of the German parliament. The proposed terms of reference for the Banking Inquiry sent to the Dáil and Seanad Committees on Procedure and Privileges specifically include an examination of the role and influence of the ECB, especially in respect of the efforts to impose losses on senior bondholders. This is a vital element of the Inquiry.
“I believe it is imperative for a successful Banking Inquiry that either the former ECB President Jean Claude Trichet or the current President Mario Draghi would attend before the Inquiry and account for the ECB’s policies during critical stages of Ireland’s banking crisis. The correspondence released earlier this month by the ECB relating to Ireland’s entry into a Troika Programme sheds further light on the pressures at play at this time. In my view, the Banking Inquiry will require access to all contacts with the ECB during the negotiations on the Troika Programme and subsequently in 2011 when efforts were again made to achieve burden sharing with senior bank bondholders. This means having full access to correspondence with the ECB, as well as records of all phone calls, briefing papers, minutes of meetings and informal discussions with officials from the ECB.
“The Banking Inquiry faces enormous challenges in attempting to thoroughly examine Ireland’s banking crisis in a very tight timeframe. The signal from the ECB earlier this month and repeated again yesterday that it may not necessarily participate in the Inquiry is disturbing and a source of major concern for me as a member of the Inquiry. I regard the cooperation and involvement of the ECB as essential to the completion of a comprehensive Inquiry examining all aspects of Ireland’s banking crisis.”