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Banking Inquiry

The curious case of the financial regulator and the branded golf balls

The former financial regulator described the agency’s branded golf balls as “a mistake”.

Updated 7pm

THE FORMER FINANCIAL regulator Patrick Neary underwent a lengthy grilling from the banking inquiry today.

Answering questions from TDs and Senators the man charged with regulating the banks in the years leading up the financial collapse said he was “deeply sorry”.

But the inquiry also delved into a number of golfing matters, including financial regulator-branded golf balls and Neary’s own golfing habits.


This afternoon, Labour senator Susan O’Keeffe asked Neary about the decision to produce golf balls with the logo of the financial regulator on them.

Nearly said they were part of a “suite of products purchased as promotional materials”. He described them as a mistake, and said they were discontinued “very quickly”.

Asked whose mistake it was Neary responded:

Whoever ordered the golf balls.

Asked did he know about it, he said:

Well I became aware of it and that was discontinued.

Check it out:

Video / YouTube

Later, Neary was questioned about social relationships he had with bank executives.

He confirmed he was part of a golf society before he became the financial regulator – but worked in the Central Bank – where there were some golf outings with some bank executives.

He later confirmed that he played golf with former Anglo executives Seán Fitzpatrick and Willie McAteer in his early days as prudential director at the Central Bank but these games ended as he felt it had become “inappropriate”.

Asked if he would consider Fitzpatrick and McAteer friends, he said they were not close friends.

They were people that I knew strictly and traditionally from a golfing background.

These outings took place in the early 2000s and banking matters were never discussed, Neary said. He said he never played golf with Brian Cowen.

More: The banks ‘should have known what they were doing’: Neary

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