Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 14 October, 1998

Written Answers. - Banking Sector Regulation.

55. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he has received a report from the banking section of his Department in relation to the powers of the Director of Consumer Affairs, the Central Bank and others in safeguarding the interests of consumers in dealing with banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19492/98]

Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): The report to which the Deputy refers was, in fact, requested from an interdepartmental working group chaired by my Department and made up of representatives of the Departments of Finance, the Taoiseach, Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Central Bank, the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs and the Office of the Attorney General. The mandate of the group was “to investigate the law and practice governing the provision of financial services in Ireland and the impact this has on consumers”. It was also to consider what steps may be required to increase the public understanding of the regulatory systems, including the manner of their implementation. I understand that a very significant amount of work has been undertaken on a wide range of issues related to banking and consumer matters and significant progress made. A number of the issues considered have given rise to complex legal and administrative questions.

The work of the group has taken longer than anticipated, because of the complexity and importance of the issues involved. A rushed job would benefit no one. I can say at this stage, however, that the group's deliberations are nearing finality.