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Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# State of the Nation
ECB head: Ireland could have burned bondholders
Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everybody’s talking about…

Matt vs Mario.

Germany European Central Bank Michael Probst Michael Probst

ECB President Mario Draghi has written a letter to Matt Carthy, after the Sinn Féin MEP raised a number of questions about the European Central Bank’s involvement in the Irish bailout.

Draghi told the Midlands North West MEP the ECB did not call on Ireland to burn bondholders.

I must be absolutely clear that the ECB does not have any authority to issue instructions to any euro area government or its ministers, in the same way as euro area governments and EU institutions are not in a position to issue instructions to the ECB.

However, he said he thought the decision to protect bondholders was the right one.

Draghi reiterated his position that the ECB cannot appear before the upcoming banking inquiry, telling Carthy:

“Owing to the ECB’s accountability to European institutions and primarily to the European Parliament, the ECB is not in a position to participate in inquiries conducted by national parliaments.”

However, Dragi did add that the institution “stands ready” to interact on an “informal basis, outside the context of the banking inquiry”.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Carthy said he was not satisfied with Draghi’s stance, saying the letter “reinforces” the need for the bank to send representatives to appear before the inquiry.

European Parliamentary elections Niall Carson Matt Carthy and Gerry Adams Niall Carson

“The letter is long and in some respects detailed, but it raises as many questions as it does answers,” Carthy stated.

Carthy said he and fellow MEPs “will do whatever we can to get any level of engagement” and called on the government and banking inquiry committee to “exert enough pressure” on the ECB to provide witnesses and documentation.

The legal structures needed to compel politicians such as Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, as well as senior bankers and institutions, will be signed off on today. It’s unlikely the ECB will be included in this.

The agenda

  • Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will be answering questions at 9.30am.
  • Children’s Minister James Reilly will appear before the health committee at 9.30am. Afterwards, Liam Downey, Chairman Designate of Vhi Healthcare, is set to answer questions.
  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton, Finance Minister Michael Noonan, and Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin will all attend the launch of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland’s first phase of loans for SMEs at 10am.
  • As it’s Thursday, the Tánaiste will be fielding Leaders’ Questions at 12pm.
  • The Seanad will debate legislation on lobbying (1.15pm) and workplace relations (2.30pm).
  • The contentious issue of clamping will dominate the Transport Committee’s agenda at 2pm, with Minister Paschal Donohoe appearing.

Inside Leinster House

Michael Noonan and Pearse Doherty had great craic during yesterday’s Oireachtas Finance Committee meeting – yes, really. Must be the spring weather.

Video / YouTube

What the others are saying

  • The Taoiseach will spend €900,000 on assistants and advisers this year, according to the Irish Examiner.  
  • The Irish Dail Mail reports that €1 million is set to be spent on refurbishments at Government Buildings in 2015.
  • A growing number of Fine Gael TDs want the coalition to seriously consider selling the State’s stake in Aer Lingus, notes the Irish Times.
  • Several papers report on the €300 million set to be invested in social housing. 

In case you missed it

  • Irish Water’s head of communications stopped by for an interview.
  • Gerry Adams told Enda Kenny he was trying to ‘prick his bubble‘. In separate news, the Taoiseach said he turned down the offer of extra security
  • The Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin faced a backlash after posting an ironic tweet about racist Chelsea fans.
  • The banking inquiry was told allowing Anglo to collapse would have been a mistake. 
  • An anti-drugs campaigner told the Oireachtas Justice Committee that the drugs problem in Dublin is getting worse, partially due to Garda resources being diverted to water protests.  

On the Tweet machine

There was good will on Twitter yesterday, after the adoption rights bill was passed in the Seanad.

Originally published: 9am

Read: Will new family law impact same-sex marriage vote?

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