Top banker astonished at banks' behavior

Repeating his call for an inquiry into the Irish banking crisis, Patrick Honohan said such an investigation was necessary for society at large.

He said he had in the past written about the situation at Anglo Irish - now under the control of the Irish government - and the fact that it had grown so rapidly for 10 years. That in and of itself should have been a reason for someone to say stop, he said.

"No bank can control their growth at that rate so I think there were good reasons to step in and blow the whistle on that. But it is, nevertheless, hard to understand how other, more experienced banks, would fall into the trap of running along too," he said.

Honohan said that it was clear there would be some kind of inquiry but the question was how best such an inquiry could be conducted.

"A witch-hunt is no good to anybody. What we want to do is go behind the glib statements that are made about why things happened in the way they did and really try to dig and put the finger on any processes, any structures, in our whole system that really contributed to this," he said.

He added that a forensic inquiry hammering witnesses across a table was not the issue and that the requirement was to get an understanding of what had gone on in society with a lot of professional expertise, including social scientists, involved.

Honohan said he would expect that in a year or two the banks would not only be strong but confident and at that stage, foreign investors would be keen to come and buy the shares that the Irish Government will have in the banks.

Fine Gael MEP, Gay Mitchell, strongly endorsed Honohan's call for an inquiry and proposed that the D

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