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Central Bank (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Central Bank (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Snippet Contents:

On this special day, I join all of the Deputies who have already expressed their appreciation and love of Deputy Pearse Doherty for introducing this Bill. I wish to be associated with those remarks.
In 2015, the former chairman of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority, IFSRA, Mr. Brian Patterson, gave evidence to the banking inquiry. His answers on accountability and oversight were something to behold. Mr. Patterson stated that the Central Bank operated under the principle of what he called "moral suasion" as the preferred way to keep checks on the banks. When he was asked to explain what was meant by "moral suasion", he said that it referred "to the eyebrows of the Governor", in that, "if you were having a conversation with the Governor and he raised his eyebrows" at you, it was the Governor's way of showing that he was displeased with the answer. Imagine if a raised eyebrow was enough for you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, to keep Deputies in check. Is it any wonder that the banks spent decades laughing at the regulators when the worst that would happen to them was the Governor of the Central Bank raising an eyebrow?
People are irked that banks and people in senior positions therein can blatantly lie. We had light touch regulation. We often hear the expression "regulators were asleep at the wheel," but they were not asleep. They knew exactly what was happening. They supported the free market as they saw it. Politicians were told at the height of the Celtic tiger that the banks should be left alone, there should be no State intervention, the market should be allowed to sort itself out and everything would be okay. This approach was supported at Government and regulatory levels. It was not that people were asleep at the wheel. They knew exactly what was happening and they let it happen.
This is a simple Bill that should not have needed an Opposition party to introduce it. Unfortunately, however, that was required because this Government has consistently proven that it has no answers to the issue of a lack of accountability and transparency. It does not care about the elites and those in the State who believe that they can do what they want and act, not in the interests of citizens, but in their own interests and the interests of profit. It takes parties like Sinn Féin to introduce Bills like this one. We appreciate the support that we have received from Deputies and the Government, although the Government is only supporting this because it does not have the brass neck not to support it. Nonetheless, we will take that support. We hope that the Bill does not just pass Second Stage, but goes right through and becomes law.