Following questioning from Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD during today’s Oireachtas Finance Committee meeting with the Governor of the Central Bank, Patrick Honohan admitted that there were “opportunities missed” during the negotiation of the EU/IMF austerity deal because it was “done quickly”. He also defended his role in “wrong-footing” the then Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.
Speaking after the meeting Deputy Doherty said:
“It was important to challenge Central Bank Governor Patrick Hononan today on his role during the EU/IMF negotiations last December. I specifically asked him if he regretted his decision to speak publicly on Irish radio when the Government was negotiating with the EU and IMF and whether his intervention had a negative impact on those negotiations.
“The Governor’s clarification today that there were ‘opportunities missed’ because the deal was ‘done quickly’ and that he ‘wrong-footed’ the then Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.
“Sinn Féin remains convinced that there was a better way to handle the crisis in December 2010 than seeking support from the EU and IMF.
“At the time we were concerned that Governor Hononan’s public intervention was motivated by his membership of the European Central Bank rather than by his responsibilities to the Irish people.
“On hearing Governor Honohan today I am firmly of the view that this was the case. There is now a need for the Government to assert that his priority must always be to serve the Irish people first when conflicts of interest arise in his functions.”