Pressure on Government to legislate for terminations

The events of the past couple of weeks have brought the issue of proper regulation to a head and the government is now under serious pressure to bring clarity to the law surrounding the regulation of the banks. Ever since the news broke that Finance Minister Michael Noonan's hands were tied in relation to the pay of top bank executives there has been widespread condemnation of the lack of legislation for the termination of non-viable banks in cases where they threaten the well-being of their economy.

The government has been sitting on its hands ever since the famous 'A' Case in 2009, when a Finance Minister was unable to terminate a non-viable bank even though it brought untold pain to its already suffering economy. This was soon followed by the similar 'AIB' and 'BoI' cases, yet despite all of these unfortunate events, and the obvious need for regulation, last week we found ourselves back in familiar territory when it was revealed that top executives in a bank associated with the 'A' Case were receiving salaries of over €500,000 but the Finance Minister was again powerless to terminate their contracts.

Last week's events brought pro-economy demonstrators to the streets in protest at the government's reluctance to bring clarity to the legislation governing the regulation of the banks. A candle-light vigil was held in memory of the Celtic Tiger economy, one of the many boom economies that died as a result of insufficient bank regulation. The pro-economists claim that if the government doesn't act now future economies will be put in danger and a clear message will be sent out that the government values the banks more than it does the well-being of the economy. 

Conversely, the pro-bankers have claimed that the pro-economists have hijacked the recent pay scandal to satisfy their own agenda. The pro-bankers claim that there is sufficient legislation in place to regulate the banks and any further liberalisation of the laws would result in a free-for-all where banks could be discarded "willy-nilly".

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has been quick to act on the issue, with deputy leader Mary Lou McBandwagon announcing that the party will bring a motion in the Dáil regarding bank regulation. She is scheduled to appear on Tonight with Vincent Browne to discuss the issue, where it is widely expected that Mr. Browne will completely ignore anything she has to say and instead overtly ridicule her for having no credibility whatsoever.