Mathews rejects comparisons to ‘George Lee’ ticket

BANKING expert Peter Mathews denied he was another “George Lee” being parachuted into national politics as he was unveiled as Fine Gael’s newest recruit yesterday.

Mr Mathews is to run for the party in Dublin South — the same constituency which Mr Lee infamously represented for just nine months before walking away from politics.

But asked why voters in Dublin South should risk voting for a celebrity candidate a second time given the Lee fiasco, Mr Mathews rejected the comparison and stressed he was not an economist.

“I’m an analyst, a banking analyst. My background is chartered accountancy… I think the comparison is irrelevant. I’m an independent person who’s carried out professional work since I left ICC Bank after a 20-year career there.”

Mr Mathews has come to prominence in the last two years, appearing regularly in the media as a critic of both the bank guarantee scheme and NAMA.

He rejected suggestions he had little to present to voters other than those media appearances on shows such as Tonight with Vincent Browne.

“The work that’s been done that I’m proud to say I did over the last two years was based on a huge amount of research, analysis, presentation. The Vincent Browne show is a wonderful opportunity… but beneath that, there’s a huge volume of work and arm-power that went into presenting the alternative to NAMA, for instance, to presenting the correct analysis of the banking sector balance sheets and the recapitalisation requirements…

“It was work that was rebuffed and rejected by the Government — amazingly, because the facts spoke for themselves. And yet they committed themselves to a substandard and useless and ineffective policy.”

Mr Mathews refused to say whether he expected to be more than merely a backbench TD should he get elected and Fine Gael return to power.

“If I’m elected, I will address with the command of my subject and knowledge and experience wherever the problems are. And I know that the Fine Gael leadership and the Fine Gael party — my colleagues — will see that the sensible thing to do is to place people where they can be of most import and effect.”

Mr Mathews will run alongside sitting Fine Gael TDs Alan Shatter and Olivia Mitchell in Dublin South, with the party’s intention being to win three seats.

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