Former ECB chief Trichet to engage with banking inquiry

The nexus phase of inquiry hearings will include 64 public hearings and at least 50 witnesses

Former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Jean-Claude Trichet has agreed to engage with the banking inquiry through the Institute for International and European Affairs in Dublin.

Mr Trichet is due to address a meeting of the IIEA in a personal capacity on April 30th and has agreed to engage with the committee at this event, according to the chairman of the inquiry, Ciarán Lynch.

He said the committee has written to the IIEA outlining the level of engagement it is seeking with Mr Trichet.

“Engagement with the committee, as part of this event, will assist greatly and directly contribute to the inquiry report,” said Mr Lynch.


“We have outlined to the IIEA a number of areas which we believe would contribute to a successful outcome for the Committee. It is important that there is an opportunity for us to use this engagement as ‘evidence’ in our inquiry and that there is web-casting or live streaming of the event and question and answer session, in addition to a written transcript, he said.

Mr Lynch said that to ensure Mr Trichet is provided with as much opportunity as possible to consider the contribution he could make on the day and that it is an informative engagement, the inquiry would be willing to discuss in advance the lines of inquiry it intended to take.

The involvement of Mr Trichet will form part of the crucial nexus phase of the inquiry which will hear testimony from key politicians, civil servants and bankers who had a role in the crisis.

The inquiry committee agreed on Wednesday that relevant witnesses would begin giving evidence on Wednesday, April 22nd.

The nexus phase will focus on three broad elements, banking systems and practices; regulatory and supervisory systems and practices; and crisis management systems and policy responses, and these three elements interacted with each other.

The nexus phase hearings will run from April 22nd until the middle of September with a total of 64 public hearings planned. It is envisaged that at least 50 witnesses will be called to the public hearings.

“This phase of our hearings will include a move to compelling witnesses and statements and the use of evidence. Under the witness management protocol, there will be a structured witness engagement with a seven week lead-in between the notification and the public hearing. The protocol includes timescales, evidence books and technical briefings,” said Mr Lynch.

He said the committee discussed how it could proceed with regard to institutions that are subject to some certain legal cases.

“The committee is aware of the pending legal cases and the general impact on witnesses and documents in the nexus phase. The timing and nature of these cases will be taken into account as the committee prepares scheduling and witnesses for the banking stream of the nexus hearings.

“We are conscious of the need to be prudent in how the committee conducts its business to ensure that the integrity of legal proceedings is protected and carried out separately from the committee’s work.

“From the outset, the committee has been aware that our inquiry is separate from and not replacing the work of the courts,” he said.

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins is a columnist with and former political editor of The Irish Times