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The, Private, Public Servant

Our Financial Regulator is confident, and has asserted so in public, that he is not at fault in failing to properly regulate the Irish Banks in circumstances where they ultimately needed rescuing by the taxpayers.

For his pains he has been told by (some) elected representatives he ought to resign.

In fact, it is difficult to criticise him. That is not to say he is not open to criticism, just that it is difficult to do so, as was seen in Ryanair Holdings plc v Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority IEHC.

Ryanair is the largest shareholder in Aer Lingus. The Government is the second largest shareholder. Ryanair discovered Aer Lingus told the Government that it was intent on changing its Heathrow “slots” from Shannon to Belfast. It did not communicate this to Ryanair. In the view of Ryanair this was a case of “market abuse” and a breach of Market Abuse (Directive 2003/6/EC) Regulations 2005 and the Market Abuse Rules and it complained to the Financial Regulator requesting action by it.

The Regulator declined to inform Ryanair what, if anything, it was doing on foot of the complaint.

The court upheld this view of the Regulator.

The court also found the Regulator is not required to make its findings public or give any reasons for its decision.

There would appear to be two consequences to this; there will not be many complaints lodged with the financial Regulator, and, it is difficult to make judgments as to his competence.

One Comment

  1. Ryanair could make a request under Section 18 of the FOI Act as amended, asking for the reasons for the decision. The Financial Regulator would normally have to deal with the request within 28 days.