Central Bank stopped Dept of Finance officials attending IMF meetings

It said their presence would "prevent a full and complete" discussions

Central Bank stopped Dept of Finance officials attending IMF meetings


Central Bank Governor, Philip Lane asked Department of Finance officials to not attend financial supervision meetings during the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) recent visit, according to today's Irish Independent.

He is reported to have cited "confidentiality obligations" when arguing that the department's officials should not attend 17 meetings, mainly related to banking and insurance supervision.

Civil servants said that exclusion from these meetings should be "clearly attributable to specific legal requirements."

Mr Lane said their presence would "prevent a full and complete response" during the talks. It was also argued that the involvement of department officials might compromise the independence of the Central Bank.

The newspaper cited messages exchanged between department officials and the Central Bank obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Ann Nolan, second secretary general wrote to Mr Lane, stating: "I am firmly of the view that department officials' attendance is important in terms of fulfilling our oversight role in relation to the State's economic, fiscal and financial stability, particularly in light of the findings and recommendations emerging from the recently published Report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis."

The Governor replied: "17 of these meetings relate to discussions on areas (primarily the supervision of regulated institutions), where due to these confidentiality obligations, Department of Finance officials' attendance would prevent a full and complete response on the topics in question, restrict the Central Bank's ability to discuss evidence of practice and may also bring into question the Central Bank's independence." 

A spokesperson for the Department of Finance confirmed that its staff did not attend the meetings - but they received comprehensive briefs before and after.