Role Of The Central Bank


Sir, - Denis Coghlan points out (The Irish Times, November 17th) that Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats decided not to include the legality and ownership of £38 million in the Ansbacher accounts within the scope of the Moriarty Tribunal. The amendment to allow for such an investigation by Mr Justice Moriarty was tabled by me on behalf of the Labour Party. It was supported on a division only by Democratic Left and the Green Party.

I subsequently tabled (and, to his credit, Mr McCreevy accepted) an amendment asking the Tribunal to make recommendations "for enhancing the role and performance of the Central Bank as regulator of the banks and of the financial services sector generally".

It seems quite clear to me that the judicial inquiry cannot consider how best to enhance the Central Bank's performance without first considering its track record in this area which is, as Denis Coghlan pointed out, far from exemplary. I do not know of a single instance in which the bank has, in its role of regulator, managed to bring to book a commercial enterprise found guilty of violating the laws which the bank polices.

The Moriarty Tribunal will not be able to perform its job without assistance and co-operation from all people and bodies appearing before it. Many of these people will have vested interests. As your correspondent remarks, the legal representative of the public interest will have much to do.

It is now clearly up to the Government to ensure that the role of the Central Bank in this case can be adequately dealt with before the tribunal. This can be achieved only if counsel, nominated by the Government to represent the public interest, outlines clearly to the Tribunal the nature of the concerns expressed by public representatives in the Oireachtas and the manner in which he proposes these should be dealt with before that body. - Yours, etc.,

Brendan Howlin TD,

Deputy Leader, Labour Party, Dail Eireann, Dublin 2.