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‘Revolving door’ mentality between department and banking sector: Doherty

24 January, 2013 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD, has said today’s comments from NTMA chief executive, John Corrigan at the Oireachtas Finance Committee show that the “revolving door” mentality between the Department of Finance and the banking sector is alive and well.

“The revolving door between the Department of Finance and the banks is obviously still prevalent. This mentality was a major contributing factor to the disaster in Irish banking and to the lack of regulation.

“In recent days a member of the Shareholder Management Unit in the Department of Finance, seconded from the NTMA, has resigned.

“Michael Torpey, has been appointed as a chief executive in the Bank of Ireland. Where he worked until last week, the Shareholder Management Unit of the Department of Finance, dealt with the sale of €1 billion of Capital Contingency Notes held by Bank of Ireland. This happened during Mr Torpey’s time as head of that Shareholder Management Unit.

“Employees of the NTMA are being seconded to the Department of Finance. There they are privy to sensitive commercial information. For them to shift straight into banks which, they were overseeing only weeks earlier, creates a potential conflict of interest. They also bring knowledge of competing banks.

“The NTMA is clearly acting in a shadow-zone where it is not subject to the normal code of conduct for civil servants yet is dealing with billions of taxpayers’ money.

“At today’s committee, Mr Corrigan also failed to rule out bonuses being paid to NTMA employees for 2012 which shows a detachment from reality. The pay scales of NTMA staff often are way above the civil service cap with 11 employees earning over €250,000. Clearly, the NTMA needs to be held to account.

“These attitudes are not acceptable. The NTMA and its staff must be held to account and abide by the same rules as everybody else.”

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