Mario Draghi asked to appear before finance committee

The European Central Bank president who refused to attend a banking inquiry hearing two years ago has been formally asked to meet with a cross-party Dáil committee before the budget.

The request was made to Mario Draghi by Fianna Fáil TD and finance committee chair John McGuinness after calls for it to happen were made by Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes.

In comments in recent days, Mr Hayes said Mr Draghi should attend the committee to discuss the ECB’s policy of quantitative easing, ongoing issues in the Irish economy, Brexit, and other matters.

In response to the suggestion, Mr McGuinness told the Irish Examiner he has now formally asked Mr Draghi’s office to attend a key finance committee meeting before the October budget in order to clarify issues surrounding the Irish economy.

“I saw that from Brian Hayes and I support his view that Mario Draghi should attend,” Mr McGuinness said.

“I’ve asked the clerk of the committee to write to Mr Draghi’s office with a view to bringing him here. I think it would be an interesting meeting to have around the budget because of the issues that remain in Ireland.”

Mr Draghi was last asked to appear before an Irish parliamentary group in 2015, during the year-long banking inquiry.

However, he refused to attend. This, Mr Draghi said at the time, was because many of the issues occurred under his predecessor, Jean-Claude Trichet.

He said his appearance would set a precedent for other countries seeking to examine their own financial crises.

However, Mr Draghi has subsequently attended meetings with national parliaments in France, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, and his native Italy.

While Fine Gael TDs are likely to focus questions to Mr Draghi on the growing Irish economy and its recovery under their watch, should the ECB president attend, opposition TDs will similarly seek to frame the discussion around their own concerns.

These are likely to include the housing crisis, rent bubbles, the two-tier financial recovery, and the fact that while job numbers are increasing, many of these positions involve low-pay or non-secure hours.

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