New Central Bank head to address budget leak row

New Central Bank head to address budget leak row

Incoming Central Bank governor Gabriel Makhlouf will make a statement on the controversy surrounding his handling of a budget leak in New Zealand before he takes up office.

Finance minister Paschal Donohoe has said that Mr Makhlouf is aware of the publicity he has received here after a state inquiry in New Zealand found that he failed to take responsibility for a leak of sensitive budget information.

Mr Donohoe said: “It goes without saying that I wish this issue had not occurred in the way it did, it happened in the aftermath of us making the appointment.”

However, the minister for finance said Mr Makhlouf would provide “excellent leadership” of the Central Bank and confirmed he would make a statement on the New Zealand leaks before he takes up his role in September.

This issue has to be seen in the light of somebody who has had a career now for three decades at the highest level of public service in many different jurisdictions.

“I know he is aware of the debate that it has ignited here in Ireland and he also wants to ensure that he can spend the early part of his tenure focusing in on his work as the new governor of our Central Bank. As we approach his taking over the role of governor of the Central Bank a statement will be made,” Mr Donohoe said.

Meanwhile, Mr Donohoe said he is still examining the possibility of lifting the restrictions on bankers’ bonuses and would be “reflecting on what the best course of action is”.

“I am looking at what is happening at management levels in our banks at the moment,” he said.

“Particularly in the context of what is now happening with the large number of banks and expanded financial services presences here in Ireland that are not subject to our remuneration policy for our core Irish banks.

“However, I am also aware of issues like the status of where we are with the tracker mortgage examination, I am aware of the ongoing public anger regarding the circumstances that lead to the level of elevated debt,” he said.

The finance minister commissioned a report on bankers’ pay after the Government vetoed a shares incentive plan by AIB last year.

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