Masding given a pass as Dáil committee takes time out for Leo
Permanent TSB boss told he needn’t turn up for a grilling on bank practices until autumn
Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher - no fan of Oireachtas committees. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Giddiness around Leinster House at the start of a new political era under Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has spilled over on to Permanent TSB’s headquarters on Stephen’s Green.
Permo boss Jeremy Masding was told on Tuesday that he would not have to endure a scheduled grilling on Thursday morning before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach.
It appears that the members of the committee, chaired by Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness and including four Fine Gael TDs and senators, are too preoccupied with the machinations of the new administration to have time to listen to hours of testimony from a banker on nonperforming loans, interest rates, capital ratios and – that new mouthful that only a regulator can love – “minimum own funds and eligible liabilities”. And who is Cantillon to blame them?
Masding – who now won’t be called before the committee until September – isn’t the only one of late to enjoy a reprieve.
McGuinness also pardoned AIB chief executive Bernard Byrne, who was supposed to swing by Kildare Street on Tuesday, as the banker is on the road trying to help the Government flog up to a 28.8 per cent stake in the bank to stock market investors.
“As in the past, we very much welcome your invitation to engage with the committee,” Byrne wrote as he begged McGuinness for temporary respite. “It provides a valuable opportunity for AIB to present a detailed progress report to the Oireachtas and the wider Irish public.”
Byrne promised he’ll be prepared for a “fulsome discussion later in the year”.
The leniency to bankers appears to stop there, however. Ulster Bank chief Gerry Mallon’s meeting next Thursday is set to go ahead as planned.
And Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher, who could never quite hide his distaste having to deal with Oireachtas committees, is scheduled for June 29th. With HSBC executive Francesca McDonagh set to succeed Boucher at the start of October, it is likely to be the chief executive of eight years’ last appearance before the committee.
Could peace finally break out between the Bank of Ireland boss and McGuinness?