12 June 2003 Edition

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Ó Caoláin calls bank bosses to account

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD, who is a member of the Committee on Finance and the Public Service, has called for the CEOs of the leading Irish banks to attend a special hearing to explain their reticence to pass on last week's European Central Bank's interest rate cut

"The financial institutions have been allowed to get away with this for too long," he said. "I have written to the Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service urging a special meeting to which representatives of the banks would be invited. Let them come and explain themselves to the elected representatives of the people they exploit so freely."

Ó Caoláin also wants the committee to examine the whole system of bank charges and the disregard of the banks for people in rural areas, where they continue to close branches.

It is wrong he believes that, "the big players like AIB, Bank of Ireland are dominating, and these virtual monopolies are subject to no real control by the state".

Infrastructure seminar important step - Doherty

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty says that a seminar organised by Omagh District Council entitled "Transportation - At the heart of Regional Development" reinforced the importance of improved infrastructure to future economic development west of the Bann and in the north west of Ireland.

The seminar brought together elected representatives and Chief Executives from Councils involved in the ICBAN and North West Region Cross Border Group, with invitations extended to MEPs, MPs, TDs and Assembly members for these areas.

"The geographical spread of the representatives present helped to focus minds on the need to think and act in regional terms for the betterment of all the people in the region," said Doherty.

The seminar had presentations on the North's Regional Transportation Strategy and the South's National Roads Strategy and on the 'Economics of Infrastructure' which flagged up the positive economic spin offs that flow from improved infrastructure

"The seminar was an extremely important step in attempting to address the infrastructure deficit in this part of Ireland," said Doherty. "By developing a regional voice and working together on the issue we can best effect the much-needed improvements in our infrastructure - improvements that are so vital to bring about the economic regeneration of the region."

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