Leitrim’s County Councillors have unanimously called for a full public inquiry into the practices within the Irish financial services sector including the main Banks over the past 20 years.
Putting forward the motion at the recent Council meeting, Cllr Martin Kenny said that he could not understand why there had not been an inquiry to date as it was “obvious that very questionable practices were being used” in many banking institutions, especially in relation to the promotion of bank shares as a “safe investment”.
“Making the accounts look good for share sales was just one of the dishonest practises carried out in Irish financial institutions; the full extent of it needs to be established. Decent people from all walks of life have lost millions, possibly billions through these schemes. Breaches of corporate law and other dishonest practices must, at the least, be examined by a full public inquiry,” he insisted.
His call was supported by Cllr John McCartin who said that the motion should be extended to call for an investigation into the institutions who rated and graded the Irish banks and their instruments. “Their record in rating is so obviously poor that questions should be asked about how they came to rate our banks so highly,” he said.
“Clearly something was seriously wrong with the way ratings were being carried out and these people have to be held to account along with those in our own banking sector.” Cllr Paddy O’Rourke agreed pointing out that he knew families who had been devastated financially from losses made on shares in Irish banks
“These families have lost everything and they did not seek to invest in Irish banks, they were approached and told that the Irish Banks were a safe investment and that clearly was not the case,” he said.
Gerry Reynolds stated that it was “extremely galling” for those who lost money on bank shares to see the CEOs of the Irish banks walking away with huge pensions and benefits despite the fact that this financial disaster occurred on their watch.
Leitrim County Council is now writing to the Government to call for a public inquiry to be put in place as a matter of priority.