News & Media

Appointment of Central Bank Governor should be re-examined

31 July 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Reacting to revelations indicating that both the ECB and two former Governors have expressed concerns about the new Central Bank Governor, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, has repeated his call for a further examination of the appointment of Mr Gabriel Makhlouf.

Brendan said: “The Department of Finance has played down the findings of an independent inquiry into the New Zealand budget scandal involving Mr Makhlouf. While the report indicated that Mr Makhlouf had not acted in an improper fashion, it was severely critical of his actions and he was criticised for not describing the incident accurately. He has been widely criticised in New Zealand for not taking personal responsibility for the incident and for failing to attend a key parliamentary committee in the aftermath of the incident.

“We are entitled to set a higher bar for the competence of the incoming Governor than the mere absence of deliberate wrong doing. The Department of Finance is seeking to whitewash the issues raised in the report.

“It also seems that the Minister for Finance has been less than forthcoming about this appointment. Why were the issues raised in today’s and yesterday’s Irish Times not revealed by the Minister? He bears ultimate responsibility for this appointment and he can’t hide behind a process. The Minister has to satisfy himself that the Governor is the best person to lead the Irish Central Bank and to guide its relations with the ECB at this critical time. He needs to explain why he is ignoring the concerns of both former Governors and the ECB itself in relation to this appointment.”