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Central Bank (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Snippet Contents:

I, too, welcome the Bill introduced by Deputy Pearse Doherty and Sinn Féin, which proposes to provide powers to the Central Bank of Ireland to conduct inquiries into the suspected provision to it of false or misleading information and to provide that sanctions may be imposed by the Central Bank on bodies that provide false information. While I agree with the spirit of the Bill and understand what Deputy Doherty is trying to do, I have concerns that the additional powers provided would not be put to use as the Central Bank would not be under any obligation to use them.
The Bill is directly linked to the tracker mortgage scandal. It has taken the Central Bank a long time to get a handle on this issue and there are other areas in which it has also let down consumers. For example, its response to Ulster Bank and the Global Restructuring Group, GRG, has been highly disappointing. As Deputies are aware, Bank of Scotland in the United Kingdom and Ulster Bank in Ireland purposely drove small and medium business owners out of business in order that the banks could take over the companies. The Financial Conduct Authority, FCA, in the UK conducted a review of Bank of Scotland and the GRG but has, to date, refused to release the unredacted version of its report. Thankfully, an unredacted version was leaked on Monday last and it makes for frightening reading. The FCA has been correctly pilloried for not publishing the unredacted version. However, if we compare its response with that of the Central Bank of Ireland, we find that the matter has not even been investigated in this country. I wrote to the Central Bank of Ireland about its response to the GRG last summer and it informed me that it was engaging with Ulster Bank on the matter and would continue to monitor the matter and oversee complaints received by Ulster Bank for any issues arising, particularly in the context of compliance with the code.