Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Bill 2008: Committee Stage.
Brendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
I will shock the Ceann Comhairle and the House by confining my remarks to amendment No. 1.
This is a very important issue and the Bill is one of the most important this House has dealt with in a very long time. It is probably one of the most important instruments with which any of us will be involved and that is why the scarcity of detail is so alarming. It is a framework for action. While we are all agreed that action is required and while we all have a shared ambition to achieve the desired outcome of that action, that is, to restore equity and confidence in the banking sector and ensure there is capital available to do genuine and honest business in this State, our job is not to underscore business as usual and allow those who have brought us to this point to continue on their merry way.
For us to be certain that this instrument will be fit for purpose, we need to have the detail; it should not be post factum. There will be no point putting the detail of the scheme to the House in a week or three weeks for comment or annulment because we are not going to renegotiate a deal done. We need to have the framework in advance so we will know what we are getting into.
I am motivated to speak more than anything else because I believe this first amendment is a matter of fundamental principle, a matter of proper parliamentary function and oversight. Over recent days, I have listened to some shrill voices, most of which were from outside the House but some of which were from within, accusing Members of the House of temerity for wanting detail. They ask whether we know there is a crisis, point to the formula and suggest Members should not be involved in working out detail and desiring accountability. This morning, when this point was being raised generally, the Minister stated we do not want to end up like Capitol Hill.