European Central Bank's Mario Draghi to appear before Oireachtas committee

Mario Draghi

European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi has agreed to come to Ireland and appear before an Oireachtas committee to discuss the banking sector and oversight of institutions.

The tracker mortgage controversy will also be raised with Mr Draghi when he appears before TDs and senators, following public outrage over borrowers being ripped off by lenders.

Finance committee chairman John McGuinness confirmed that final arrangements are being made for the ECB chief to come to Dublin. The visit has also been coordinated through interventions by Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes in Brussels. Mr McGuinness said: “Mario Draghi has agreed to come. It will be an opportunity to speak about future engagement with member states and the ECB’s oversight role. But we will ask him about the tracker mortgage issue.”

Mr Draghi has already appeared before other European parliaments including in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Finland.

MEP Brian Hayes confirmed that he has been involved in efforts to get the ECB chief to come here, to speak about issues such as the state of the eurozone.

The ECB in recent months has been encouraged by the European Parliament to engage more with local parliaments.

Mr McGuinness said his committee wants to ask the ECB president to speak about its role in scrutinising Irish legislation, which goes before the body if it has financial implications.

“Let’s hear more about the controlling features in the armoury of the ECB,” he said.

However, the protection of mortgage customers overcharged by lenders will be a priority issue discussed with Mr Draghi, pledged Mr McGuinness.

No date has been set yet for Mr Draghi’s appearance here, but it is expected it will be arranged for later this year, ahead of the ECB chief stepping down after eight years in 2019.

Relations in recent years between Ireland and the ECB have thawed following huge criticism of the ECB’s role in Ireland’s bailout as well as a low point when the former ECB president, Jean-Claude Trichet, refused to appear before the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry in 2014.


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