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Banking Sector

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 21 April 2021

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Questions (532)

Denis Naughten


532. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance the month in which the new central bank Bill underpinning the implementation of the senior executive accountability regime will be published; if the public consultation process concerning the key aspects of SEAR will not be curtailed and that sufficient time for implementation of the new regime will be ensured by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20664/21]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government includes a commitment to introduce a Senior Executive Accountability Regime (SEAR). SEAR will drive positive changes in terms of culture, greater delegation of responsibilities, and enhanced accountability while simplifying the taking of sanctions against individuals who fail in their financial sector roles.

My officials are engaging with the Attorney General's Office in advance of submitting draft heads of Bill to Government so as to ensure that the correct balance is struck between appropriate additional powers for the Central Bank and the protection of individuals' constitutional rights.

It is my hope that the Heads of Bill can be published in July. This, however, will be subject to the Attorney General’s advice on the adequacy of the safeguards included to protect the constitutional rights at stake.

Clearly, the first step in the process is to get the heads of the Bill agreed and published by Government. This will allow the pre-legislative process to begin which will allow Deputies and other interested parties to make their views known.

After that, and on conclusion of the drafting phase, the timing of the passage of the Bill will be a matter for the Oireachtas.

With regards to the timing of how and when the Bill will be implemented, experience from other jurisdictions suggests that a change as significant as this will take some time to bed down.

The Central Bank has indicated that it intends to hold a public consultation on the implementation of the Bill following enactment of the legislation.

Nevertheless, it is my view that once the scheme of the legislation becomes clearer the financial sector will commence considering the implementation of the regime.