Are Public Interest Directors a Good Idea? Lessons from the Irish Banking Crisis

50 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2015 Last revised: 19 Dec 2015

See all articles by Blanaid J. Clarke

Blanaid J. Clarke

Trinity College Dublin - School of Law

Gail Elizabeth Henderson

Queen's University Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 15, 2015

Abstract

This paper examines the role of public interest directors using as a case study the public interest directors appointed to six Irish credit institutions following the recent Irish Banking Crisis. For the purposes of the study, former public interest directors were questioned about their personal experiences and their opinions on the usefulness of such a position on the boards of banks more generally. The following questions were considered: what role did the public interest directors actually play and how did this fit with the Government’s purpose and the public’s expectations?; how was “public interest” understood or defined in this context; did the public interest conflict with the banks’ interests, and how were these conflicts resolved? Our study reveals the complex balancing act which has to be performed by public interest directors seeking to reconcile their duties and the difficulty of providing legal certainty in statute as to their functions.

Keywords: public interest directors, credit institutions, Irish banking crisis, public interest conflict, duties, functions

Suggested Citation

Clarke, Blanaid J. and Henderson, Gail Elizabeth, Are Public Interest Directors a Good Idea? Lessons from the Irish Banking Crisis (September 15, 2015). UCD Working Papers in Law, Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11/2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2660781 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2660781

Blanaid J. Clarke (Contact Author)

Trinity College Dublin - School of Law ( email )

House 39, New Square
Dublin 2
Ireland
Ph 00353 (0)18961632 (Phone)

Gail Elizabeth Henderson

Queen's University Faculty of Law ( email )

Macdonald Hall
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6 K7L3N6
Canada

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