We heard on RTE radio yesterday that the shopping centre in Bandon which is now under flood was build in an area known to locals as “the swamp”. Other councils and planners were also known to have allowed buildings to be erected in the flood plains of rivers over the boom period. How can they be held to account?
Consultants also face inefficient incentive structures. Will PWC lose any future contracts for failing to highlight the importance, in their report to the Minister for Finance, of the €7 billion deposit that ILAP had placed in Anglo-Irish Bank? This was damaging to the credibility of the Minister for Finance and his department when it emerged into the public domain several months later (Irish Times, February 12, 2009).
A correspondent recently drew my attention to a statement from the same Minister on November 28, 2008. Referring to a report he had received on the Bank Guarantee Scheme, the Minister noted that:
“The report confirmed that the capital position of each of the institutions reviewed is in excess of regulatory requirements as at 30 September 2008. The report also concludes that even in certain stress scenarios the capital levels in the financial institutions will remain within regulatory requirements in the period to 2011.”
Since the report remains confidential, the extent to which the Minister’s interpretation and explication may have been politically motivated remains unclear; i.e. how broad a range of the stress scenarios does his statement refer to? If the report’s authors got it completely wrong, then surely they should have consequences to face?
The powers and remit of the Comptroller and Auditor General need to be extended to cover such matters.