Taoiseach asks Mario Draghi to intervene on bank inquiry

Enda Kenny says he raised issue of ECB attending inquiry at EU summit

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank. Describing their conversation as “a preliminary discussion”, Taoiseach Enda  Kenny said he would come back to Mr Draghi on the banking inquiry issue “in due course”. Photograph: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank. Describing their conversation as “a preliminary discussion”, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would come back to Mr Draghi on the banking inquiry issue “in due course”. Photograph: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has personally intervened to request the European Central Bank to attend the banking inquiry. Mr Kenny raised the issue with the European Central Bank president Mario Draghi tonight at an EU summit in Brussels.

“I met Mario Draghi and I pointed out to him that the people in Ireland were very concerned to understand, to find out what actually happened during this period [. . .] that our economy had a catastrophic collapse, that 250,000 jobs were lost and this had a situation where very many people in our country yet are paying for the consequences of that.”

Describing the conversation as “a preliminary discussion”, Mr Kenny said he would come back to Mr Draghi on the matter “in due course”.

“I think he clearly understands the implications for the Irish people of the severe difficulties that we faced then and that we still face because there were no mechanisms or no tools available to deal with the consequence of that economic collapse. “ The European Union is currently passing new laws that would see creditors, including bondholders, taking a write-down in the event of a bank collapse.

The Taoiseach said there would be “plenty of opportunity for Mr Draghi to give consideration to how the ECB might contribute”.

On the issue of Ireland’s quest to secure direct bank recapitalisation for AIB and Bank of Ireland through the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) fund, Mr Kenny said the situation had changed as regarding the two pillar banks. The ESM, the euro zone’s rescue fund, can technically recapitalise banks retrospectively, though such a move would be difficult politically.

“Ireland now has a number of options open to it and the objective of making decisions here is to get the best result for the Irish taxpayer. Clearly the decision of the European Council back in 2012 leaves open the option of an application for direct recapitalisation, but since then the situation in so far as the banks are concerned has improved,” he said.