Proposals for Bill intended to hold key bank management to account to go to Cabinet

Delays to introduction of law criticised as indication of Government’s priorities

Proposals for a long-planned law aimed at holding senior bankers to account for failings under their watch are to be brought to Cabinet next week, the Dáil has been told

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said he intends for the Central Bank (Individual Accountability) Framework Bill to be published before the Dáil’s summer recess.

It comes after AIB and its EBS unit have been hit with a record €96.7 million Central Bank fine for their roles in the State’s tracker mortgage scandal.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said in the Dáil said AIB and EBS “caused serious harm to customers and ruined many, many lives.

“To date they’ve been forced to pay back over €230 million to affected customers but the irony is that AIB and EBS will pass on these costs to their customers.”

Mr Doherty added: “The fact is that not one banker has been held to account to date in any of the banks in relation to the tracker mortgage scandal.”

He told the Dail that the Central Bank called for legislation four years ago that would hold senior bankers to account.

“Such legislation was introduced in Britain six years ago, in Australia five years ago.

“Four years later we still haven’t got the final Bill published by this Government that would hold senior bankers to account. That is unacceptable.

“It shows the lack of priority this Government.”

He asked when the legislation will be published and when it is likely to take effect.

Mr Donohoe said: “The scale of the fine that has been imposed by the Central Bank on these two banks shows the strength of our regulatory system and how seriously the unacceptable behaviour in relation to tracker mortgages is being taken by the Central Bank and is being taken by the State.”

He told the Dáil that the legislation has “taken some time to draft, did require pre-legislative scrutiny - as was correct - and did require much work from the Attorney General and from my Department”.

Mr Donohoe said he will be bringing the final proposals to Cabinet next week and the legislation will be published before the summer recess.

The heads of the Bill were published last July when it was expected it would take another 18 months for the new rules to be in place.