Cantillon: Mark Carney plays the Irish card

He has held an Irish passport for about 25 years

It emerged yesterday that one rather unlikely pal at the height of the bailout last year was none other than Mark Carney, the Canadian who has been governor of the Bank of England since July.

It emerged yesterday that one rather unlikely pal at the height of the bailout last year was none other than Mark Carney, the Canadian who has been governor of the Bank of England since July.

 

If the bailout has taught us anything, it’s the benefit of having friends in high places. It emerged yesterday that one rather unlikely pal at the height of the bailout last year was none other than Mark Carney, the Canadian who has been governor of the Bank of England since July.

Except Carney isn’t just Canadian – he has held an Irish passport for about 25 years, a fact which publicly emerged only recently as his Bank of England tenure began.

Happily, it seems Michael Noonan knew about Carney’s Irishness before the rest of us, recognising his potential influence at around the time he was looking for a solution to the Anglo promissory notes problem.

A nice bit of storytelling from Bloomberg yesterday informed us that Noonan enlisted Carney (he probably calls him Mark) when he was leading his international charm offensive to gain support for his Anglo plan of replacing short-term with longer-term, more manageable, debt.

Bloomberg reports that while Noonan was wooing (in a professional sense) Christine Lagarde of the IMF in Dublin’s Doheny & Nesbitts pub and attempting to win over German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble on the international stage, a roadblock emerged in the form of Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann, who was against the promissory note deal.

It was at this stage that Carney, who was still at the Bank of Canada at the time, stepped in to help save the day, according to Bloomberg, which pointed out that Ireland and Canada are grouped together at the IMF. Mark apparently gave Jens a call on our behalf and, hey presto, the German’s opposition faded sufficiently to get the deal over the line.

Well now, wasn’t it nice of Carney to give something back to the homeland? Luckily for us, the request came before Carney moved to take on British citizenship, as he had promised to do when he was appointed to the Bank of England role. Hopefully, we won’t need to call on his Irishness again.

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