Oireachtas Committee Meetings on Banking Inquiry

In the past couple of weeks, the Oireachtas Committe on Finance and the Public Sector met with the authors of the two forthcoming preliminary banking inquiry reports, Klaus Regling and Governor Honohan (Regling was accompanied by his assistant Max Watson). The transcripts of these meetings are now available online here and here.

8 replies on “Oireachtas Committee Meetings on Banking Inquiry”

Disappointed , but not surprised, that the questioning is so obviously reflecting independent political parties agendas /biases —as distinct to working togeather to learn from past to shape the future.

@Tadgh O’Laighlin
You’re right. If only the opposition would be less demanding the cover up might go on for 8 years as in the TF case. Longer still if Alan Shatter hadn’t outrageously violated canon law by publishing the report. How dare he show how official Ireland’s negligence was contributing to the deaths of vulnerable children and young adults. In Northern Ireland they prepared and published an equivalent report in seven months.

Likewise, the opposition’s partisanship in calling the cover up regarding the Tallaght X-Rays a cover up is also deeply offensive to official theology. Our banks, per the former head of the NTMA, have been in trouble since the start of 2007 – that’s 3 years ago. The official timetable covers up for another year. The opposition should pull on the green burkha and work with the establishment to assist in the cover up.

“Chairman: Deputy Burton—–

Deputy Joan Burton: I have a number of specific questions for the gentlemen.

Chairman: There are many other speakers and we will not get to them all.

Deputy Joan Burton: I am the spokesperson for the Labour Party and these questions are important……

Chairman: Deputy Burton is going into great detail about—–

Deputy Joan Burton: I am not. I am giving an oversight.

Chairman: Perhaps the Deputy would put the questions in writing.

Deputy Joan Burton: I do not have the terms of reference of our distinguished visitors. …….”

“Deputy Frank Fahey: They are not here for a holiday. What else would they be here to look at but the questions Deputy Burton is asking?”

They might be here to pursue their terms of reference. That after all is what Dr Peter Bacon did. Did we ever see his terms of reference?

Off to a good start then.

The Chairman should get a Presidential medal and Frank Fahey should be on the comedy circuit.


Deputy Fahey is one of those deputies whom I earnestly hope and pray will get his just desserts at the hands of the electorate in due course. He and Deputy Burton appear to spend a lot of their time at Finance Committee meetings winding one another up and exchanging barbs and insults. This is a pity. They might waste a lot less of the Committee’s time and make less of a public spectacle of themselves on a regular basis if they slugged it out in private where nobody else would have to listen to them.

As FG spokesperson, Richard Bruton led off with: “I thank the witnesses for coming to the meeting. I am very impressed with their CVs. They have very clear perspectives that will be valuable to us.” He went on to give his views on our “bog standard property bubble” noting that: “low interest rates, free flow of capital as a result of joining the eurozone, weak regulatory oversight and a political belief at the time that the property sector could perform and drive a sound, fundamental economy…led to the eclipse of the survival kit of a small open economy which is about being competitive and being export led.” Not much to disagree with there.

Joan Burton’s contribution began with a reference to the witnesses appearance before the Committee being “an historic day for Ireland and for the Dáil.” She went on to say: “In many ways both of these gentlemen will be seen as coming here as the representatives of the European Central Bank and of the IMF in the context of the failure and collapse of the banking system in Ireland. Just as there has been enormous speculation in the newspapers about the so-called group of countries of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, it seems that the arrival here of Mr. Regling and Mr. Watson indicates that we now have two angels on our shoulders, formally coming from primarily the ECB but, clearly, from their CVs, coming with a certain imprint from the IMF.”

This may be good political knock about stuff but surely it’s also the height of bad manners to insinuate that Regling and Watson are merely two stooges of the ECB and the IMF if there is no evidence to support that? It undermines the credibility of the investigation in which they are engaged and any public confidence in its results, even before it has started.

Neither Regling nor Watson referred to these remarks in their initial response to Deputy Burton but took the opportunity later on to clear it up, in response to a further question on their credentials from Deputy Fahey.

“I would like to confirm that we are not representing anybody,” Mr Regling said..”The Deputy said we were coming here from a strong IMF background. To some extent that is true but, in my case, I left the IMF 19 years ago and Mr. Watson, more than a decade ago. It was very good training but we are certainly not representing the IMF, the ECB or the European Commission. We are both now in the private sector and we are not representing anybody there. We were chosen because of our perceived independence and we feel very independent.”

Mr Watson added: “To the extent that we have any intellectual parentage that can be twinned, it is an interest in trying to see how the macro, top down, and the micro, bottom up, fit and what are sometimes called, very fancily, macro-financial linkages. It would be good to know what they were and why one did not spot them in advance. We both think that kind of analysis is interesting and the way it operates at the level of sovereign states. To that extent, we will do our best.”

All of which indicates that their report may turn out to be of great interest from an economist’s perspective but isn’t likely to light any political fires. I think Tadgh, above, has summed it all up.

Frank Fahey is the second most prominent NAMA/Banking spokesperson of
the government that has hired them. Therefore there is no reason to have any hope in this investigation. Expect no political accountability – and our elected government, especially the cabinet past and present, are the ones who need to be held bluntly and fully accountable.

We haven’t been told their terms of reference? Canon law strikes again.
Ireland is as dysfunctional as planet Beta III from the original Star Trek series: “They find the inhabitants of Beta III [Bertie 3] (who seem to be modeled after 19th-century Earth [England]) are a very static culture, with little or no individual expression or creativity. The entire culture is ruled over by cloaked and cowled “lawgivers” [canon lawyers], controlled by a reclusive dictator known as Landru [Cowen].”

“Kirk and Mr. Spock, his first officer, discover that the reclusive Landru is actually a computer sealed inside an ancient chamber [the Dail], created 6000 years ago by a Betian scientist also named Landru [DeValera]. The Landru of that time only wished to create a way to help his failing society achieve peace [FF reelection]. The computer [the Irish establishment] was the solution but it performed its job soullessly and ruthlessly.

Kirk [David McWilliams] and Spock [Morgan Kelly] manage to convince the machine that running the planet as it has been is wrong and the people are being kept as meaningless slaves. They manage to convince the machine that it has violated its own prime directive. The machine realizes its mistake and self-destructs [they’d never go that easily], thus freeing the people of Beta III. Kirk agrees to leave Federation [Canadian/Swedish/Dutch] advisors and educators on the planet to help the civilization advance, free of Landru’s dominance.”
It couldn’t happen here.


Looking forward to the day when the boyos from Crumlin, Ballier, Moyross, Finglas and Ballinacurra, and those guest of the nation who are for non-payment of a few parking fines, are moved out to make room for the ‘suits’ in de Joy! Citizens’ arrests anyone? Fiddle 50-pee ; shame on you! Fiddle 50-billion ; shame on me!

I wish Klaus Regling and Max Watson well in their endeavours.

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