Gabriel Makhlouf, the governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, has led the institution since its lockdown in Greece.
The bank confirmed that Mr Makhlouf had been abroad since last month, but said he was in “constant contact” with his colleagues and was able to perform his duties during the economic crisis triggered by Covid-19.
Paschal Donohoe, the finance minister, said he knew the governor was overseas, but said he was able to contact Makhlouf “as needed” throughout the crisis.
It is understood that Mr Makhlouf traveled to Athens last month to visit a family member who is not feeling well. Greece had been in partial containment since March 10 due to Covid-19. Following the arrival of Mr. Makhlouf, the Greek authorities put the country in total containment on March 23 as the public health crisis threatened to spiral out of control.
If Greeks want to leave their homes, they are now required to download and complete a “citizens movement certificate” describing the reasons for their departure.
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Greek authorities publicized the lockdown restrictions by sending civil defense messages directly to people’s cell phones, occupying their screens with “stay home, stay safe” messages.
Sharon Donnery, the deputy governor, is the most senior official at the state’s central bank in Mr Makhlouf’s absence, although the bank insisted he was still in charge and that “his schedule has not changed ”.
“The Central Bank of Ireland is a vital part of the national infrastructure, and we continue to fulfill our mandate to ensure that the stability of the financial system is maintained and that consumers are protected in these uncertain times,” he said. declared.
The bank insisted that Mr. Makhlouf was in contact with “other government agencies and authorities across Europe, often on a daily basis.”
Mr Donohoe said decisions on recently introduced financial sector measures to tackle the economic fallout from Covid-19, such as the option of a mortgage moratorium, were taken in consultation with Mr Makhlouf.
“The governor chaired the meetings of the Central Bank Commission over the past month and fully participated in the meetings of the Governing Council of the ECB and the meetings of the Financial Stability Group,” Donohoe said.
He insisted there had been “no impact” on communications with the governor while he was stranded abroad.
Almost all Central Bank staff work remotely, in accordance with government recommendations. The bank said up to 1,800 employees log on to work from home each day.
“The Central Bank is considered an essential service, in accordance with government guidelines, and therefore a small number of employees continue to work at our premises at this time; these are personnel whose work is deemed essential but who cannot work remotely, including security personnel, ”he said.