Senator Shane Ross was writing about the Financial Regulator’s annual report last Sunday. The Senator continues to be astonished and staggered by the activities of our so called regulators.
Here are some of the things that staggered and astonished the Senator.
The chairman of the Financial Regulator, Jim Farrell, is a banker. Farrell was the boss of Citibank for many years. The publication of such details are the norm in accountable democracies but apparently rare in Ireland.
Such incestuous behaviour is not, however, unusual in Ireland. The bankers are on the regulators staff and it is quite common for regulators to end up as bankers after retirement. All part of the ‘old boy’s network’, old chap.
The Senator goes on to speak about the culture of secrecy at the Financial Regulator’s Press Office.
Their instincts for secrecy are ingrained. The watchdog’s press office must be a paranoiac’s paradise. Every question asked, however innocent, receives an evasive answer.
Tell me about it Senator. My efforts to get a straight answer from the Senior Press Officer last week was like trying to get blood from a stone.
And then there’s the ‘business travel’. Last year it came to €795,000 and this year will see a massive 22% increase to over €970,000. But, alas, as the Senator points out, taxpayer’s (peasants) are forbidden from knowing the details because the FR is protected by State secrecy laws.
In common with the rest of the media Senator Ross didn’t seem to notice that Farrell had, apparently, announced a major new policy to replace the principled based approach to financial regulation.
I rang the Department of Finance today to ask some questions about this alleged new policy and what happened, yes you’ve guessed. I received the same treatment that I received from the FR Press Office – waffle, stonewalling and riddles.
So just let me repeat – Neither the financial regulatory system nor the attitude of its staff has changed one iota. It is still the same secretive, arrogant system that has for many years protected the scumbags that infest the Irish financial sector.
Senator Shane Ross