EU official to conduct preliminary bank inquiry


MINISTER FOR Finance Brian Lenihan has announced the appointment of former German government adviser and European Commission official Klaus Regling to conduct one of the preliminary investigations into the crisis in the banking system.

The Minister said Mr Regling’s appointment “follows discussions over the past week”.

“I am confident Mr Regling’s extensive experience of senior economic and financial positions in the German ministry of finance and the European Union will ensure a robust preliminary report that identifies the key causes of the crisis and provides a firm basis for the work of the statutory Commission of Inquiry,” Mr Lenihan said yesterday.

“His experience of senior economic positions will be particularly important in analysing the international, social and macro-economic policy environment in which the banking crisis developed.

“Mr Regling’s report, which in tandem with the report from [Central Bank] governor [Patrick] Honohan, will set the framework for an efficient and hard-hitting inquiry.

“It is in the interest of this country that we get to the real causes of the financial crisis. It will ensure that the future regulation of our financial system and the management of our economy will secure sustainable economic growth.

“As a country it is important that we move beyond the catch cries of the crisis to a real analysis of what went wrong,” the Minister said.

Mr Regling said he intends to take up his duties shortly. Mr Lenihan has agreed to his request that an assistant be appointed to help complete his work within the timeframe set out by the Government. The Government has announced two “scoping” inquiries into the crisis. They are due to be completed by the end of May. A commission will then be established and asked to report by the end of the year. Its proceedings will be conducted in private.

Commenting on the appointment, Labour’s finance spokeswoman Joan Burton said: “Hopefully Mr Regling will look at the background to the Irish crisis, in particular how Government policies such as the tax-breaks stoked the property bubble.

“If his inquiry is simply about international factors, as implied in the Minister’s statement, it won’t necessarily add much to our knowledge.”