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Trichet won't answer to Dail enquiry

Wednesday, May 07 14:52:07

Jean-Claude Trichet, who was ECB president during Ireland's banking collapse, today said he will not appear before the Dail's banking enquiry because the rules of his job prevent him.

In an interview with Newstalk this morning, he said the 2008 bank guarantee was a decision taken 'without consultation' by the Irish Government and he was 'told afterwards'.

Trichet said his absence from the banking inquiry is down to the ECB's rules.

"If the rule was changed, I would apply the new rule," he said. "All decisions are taken collectively by all members of the governing council and the responsibility of explaining decisions are in the hands of the governments."

Oireachtas Finance Committee Member, Simon Harris, said that it is plain wrong for the former Head of the European Central Bank to state that self-imposed ECB rules prevent him from appearing before the Oireachtas banking inquiry.

The Fine Gael MEP Candidate for Ireland South said that Irish citizens deserve answers and that it is arrogant and dismissive for any ECB member to hide behind the arbitrarily-chosen ECB rules.

"It is plain wrong to state that rules imposed by the ECB for the ECB mean that the former ECB Head cannot appear before the banking inquiry. These rules are arbitrarily chosen and imposed. They can be changed and they can be changed quickly. I understand Mr Trichet's point that, as Head of the ECB, he was accountable to the European Parliament, not national parliaments. However, this shouldn't preclude his appearance."

"Of most importance is the need for Mr Trichet to recognise that the Irish people deserve answers. These were exceptional circumstances in which the country and the EU were engulfed in a major economic and banking crisis. It had a pan-European dimension and the outcome for Irish citizens has been severe. They, and all EU citizens, deserve the maximum amount of information as to why decisions were made. To refuse to provide this information by hiding behind arbitrary rules is arrogant and dismissive in the extreme."