8 Aug 2019

Gabriel Makhlouf admits he could have handled Budget leak better

10:09 am on 8 August 2019

Former Treasury head Gabriel Makhlouf has admitted he could have done a better job handling the Budget information breach.

Gabriel Makhlouf

Former Treasury head Gabriel Makhlouf is starting his new role as the Governor of the Republic of Ireland's central bank. Photo: supplied

Ahead of starting his new role as the Governor of Ireland's central bank, Mr Makhlouf wrote a letter to Ireland's finance minister, which has been made public by the Irish government.

In the letter, Mr Makhlouf said he agreed with the findings of Deputy State Services Commissioner John Ombler's investigation into his handling of the information breach from Treasury's website two days before the Budget's release in May.

"I have reflected on Mr Ombler's conclusions and agree with them in full."

He referred to the report's finding that his comments following the breach that the website had been "deliberately and systematically hacked" were unreasonable, and admitted he could have done better.

"In hindsight, I accept that I could have described the incident more clearly and with a different emphasis," Mr Makhlouf said in the letter.

However, he reiterated he was pleased his honesty and integrity and political neutrality had not been been called into question and that the investigation found he acted in good faith.

Gabriel Makhlouf is due to start his role leading the Central Bank of Ireland in September.

A reporter for the Irish Times, Fiach Kelly, said there had been public concern about Mr Makhlouf's appointment in recent weeks.

He said the opposition wanted the government to re-examine the appointment and the issue was likely to be raised again in the Irish parliament.

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