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Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: I have no interest in sweeping this matter under the table or allowing it to disappear. What happened was wrong. The numbers of people who were affected by this and the suffering that was caused was unconscionable. That is my view on the matter. On the specific questions the Deputy has put to me, to date the issue of the rate of interest and the individuals and victims it will go back to...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: Will the Deputy give me the quote from Governor Lane?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: I agree with the Governor's assessment on that matter.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: The culture of any organisation comes from a combination of a number of things: the long-term history of the company, the leadership traits that are rewarded in the company and the external circumstances it deals with.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: The Deputy is asking me if it is due to the functioning of capitalism or something like that. I do not believe it is. We have organisations that develop and sustain cultures that might work for them internally but have consequences that can be harrowing for other people. This is the kind of issue the Central Bank will give me a view on later this year.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: That is the case in any private sector company. I support a mixed economy. I have worked in the private sector and I am a strong supporter of putting in place the right policies to sustain the private sector in Ireland. The role of public sector companies and privately owned companies is to deliver their own objectives inside the legal and regulatory frameworks set by the Government of the day.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: I disagree with the Deputy. I do not believe the cultural issues we are referring to here came from the identity of the shareholders. The amount of time in which the Irish taxpayer has either owned entirely or owned a stake in our banks in Ireland is a short period relative to the existence of all of these entities. I believe the cultural issues we are referring to are separate to the...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: The reason there was a decision made at that point to focus in on the profitability of the banks is because at that point in time the scale of losses at the banks posed an existential threat to the Irish economy. If a pathway to profitability was not identified and the pathway embarked on, the long-term consequences for the economy would have been profoundly negative. It is not just the...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: In the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis from 2008 and 2009 and 2010, the then Government looked to tackle the culture that existed in the banks then. That approach was maintained by successive Governments. That was done by changes that happened at senior leadership levels in the banks. It was done by changes we made in remuneration. It was done by changes in the regulatory...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: None beyond what I have outlined in that statement already. If I do not see the deadlines met in March, I outlined a number of options that I will take, particularly in banks in which the Irish taxpayer has a share.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: In the aftermath of the Finance Bill that passed through this committee, I made a commitment that early this year, we would produce a paper for this committee. It would outline the consequences if we were to change the tax treatment of deferred losses within the Irish banks. I will check to see where that paper is and that we can get it to the committee in a speedy manner. That will...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: Yes, I have an opinion on the matter. I was intimately involved in the issue in November and December and I have reflected a lot on it since then because it cuts to the heart of the social contract that governments must be able to maintain with their citizens if one is trying to maintain support for the mixed economy approach that I talked of earlier. What I want to see happen first, before...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: Yes, I have checked. I engaged in this matter in the second half of last year with the Governor of the Central Bank. He informed me that the Central Bank was satisfied with the legislative powers available to it. It has made statements since then regarding broader issues and powers it believes are merited. Those views may well have been formed by the work it did in November and December....

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: I have not looked at Iceland. First, we can only prosecute people in accordance with the law that is available to us now. I asked the Central Bank if it is satisfied with the powers that are available to it. The answer was yes. I cannot speculate on what difficulties the Central Bank may or may not have in the future in dealing with this matter. However, I have asked that question and...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: No, I have not looked at Iceland for a while. I remember for a period that everyone was encouraging Ireland to go the way of Iceland. Then lots of people changed their minds on that topic-----

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: The Senator has asked me a question. Please let me answer. I remember lots of people saying that Ireland should go the way of Iceland, ignoring the fact that Iceland is not a member of a single currency zone like we are. The Icelandic economy is also fundamentally different in scale and composition to the Irish economy. We are significantly bigger and have a far more varied economy than...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: In 2016 I was then the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and did not have responsibility.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: Is the Senator asking about the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: I intend to meet the chief executive officers of the banks directly and formally perhaps every four to five months. That is the frequency I have for it. Informally, at events, I meet some of them more frequently than that. However, I aim to have formal bilateral meetings with the Irish banks at least twice a year. I will be aiming to meet the chief executive officers of all of the banks...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach: Tracker Mortgages: Discussion (16 Jan 2018)

Paschal Donohoe: Other banks may have requested to meet me but I have not met them.

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