Fractional Reserve Banking discussed in Dáil Éireann: 1942
As World War II raged, an amazing thing happened in Irish politics. According to Wikipedia’s entry for Seán T. O’Kelly:
O’Kelly was appointed Minister of Finance in 1939. He secured the passing of The Central Bank Act in 1942. On 17 July 1942 at the fifth and final stage of the Dail debate on the “Central Banking Bill”, he argued that the owner of the credit issued by the Central Bank of Ireland, should be the private property of the joint stock banker and not the property of the people of Ireland. This debate was carried out when only five Deputies were present in the Dáil.
“There are two methods of rebutting the contention that credit money here belongs to the Irish people. One is the method of denying its existence, and that, as I understand it, is the position of the Leader of the Opposition. The position taken up by the Leader of the Opposition and by those who think with him is that a banker lends the money of his depositors and shareholders and nothing else, and that, therefore, the public have no concern with the activities of a bank, other than their personal dealings with it.
I propose to submit to the House that, far from that being true, the day the banker gets established, the least of his business is the lending of his money or that of his depositors and shareholders, that that represents only one-tenth of his activities and that the remaining nine-tenths of his total activities consists in lending and dealing in a commodity called credit money which he creates on the strength of the fact that he is functioning in a community consisting of law-abiding men who maintain, by their several individual exertions, a stable community.
This conception is so revolutionary to many persons who have never given any study to banking that a large number of people, without examining the evidence, simply throw their hands in the air and say that it could not be true; but the astonishing fact is that it is true, and, by the mercy of Providence, these facts were made manifest and placed forever on record in the evidence of the Committee on Finance and Industry which sat under the chairmanship of Lord MacMillan in 1931, and the minutes of whose evidence have been reported.”