Morgan calls for establishment of Oireachtas Committee to establish best practice in Financial Regulation
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD, speaking on this evening’s Dáil private members’ motion on the regulation of debt collection, called for the establishment of an all-party Oireachtas committee to investigate international best practice in financial regulation. He said supporting the bill without first addressing the wider issue of the absence of accountable financial regulation in the state would be a mistake.
Deputy Morgan said, "I like many other deputies have read and watched recent news reports on the issue and acknowledge the concern that these reports create. Also it is important to recognize that there is a pressing need to act on the problem of unregulated debt collection.
"However worthy the bill presented here is, its genesis and structure highlights and perpetuates the very flaws that the proposed legislation seeks to address.
"A chief driver in this failure of deregulation was the creation of ineffective, toothless regulators. The best example of this in recent months has been the twin roles played by the Central Bank and the Irish Financial Services Regulator.
"The endemic failures of these supposed financial regulators are why we are here today and so proposing a bill that builds on failure does not make sense to me.
"What does make sense would be to tackle the wider issue of financial regulation, an important pillar of which is controlling debt collection. Just as important and just as overlooked is the need to regulate aspects of household money lending if not in fact ban them all together.
"I believe we must begin again on the question of financial regulation in Ireland. In fact it is an imperative. So why don’t we save the time we could spend on this bill now and immediately establish an all-party Oireachtas committee to investigate international best practice in financial regulation.
"We could take a leaf from one of the few positive consensus driven exercises ever taken up in this house which was the DIRT inquiry, which was the first ignored warning bell that something was very rotten in our banking regulations.
"The work of this committee, to find out what went wrong with financial regulation in Ireland and how to begin again with systems that work, should be given the powers of investigation similar to the DIRT inquiry, with a time limit to report by 1st September with feasible options for future regulatory institutions and draft legislation proposed to a public sitting of both Houses of the Oireachtas no later than Tuesday 8th September.
"In that context we could implement this bill alongside it, but to support this bill without addressing the wider issues of an absence of accountable financial regulation in the state right now would be a mistake." ENDS