Chairman of Anglo cuts own salary by €100,000
Dukes says it was the 'appropriate thing to do'
ANGLO Irish Bank chairman Alan Dukes has taken a €100,000 pay cut, he revealed last night. The former Fine Gael leader is taking home €150,000 a year and not the €250,000 that he was reportedly earning.
The Irish Independent revealed in March how a string of top staff at the nationalised bank had been awarded pay increases authorised by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.
Yesterday, Mr Dukes said that while Mr Lenihan had signed off on an increased salary of €250,000, he had insisted on taking just €150,000. He said taking a reduced fee was the "appropriate thing" to do.
Mr Lenihan authorised salary increases for a number of senior staff at the state-owned bank, which is now costing the taxpayer more than €24bn.
These were approved last year on the basis of the "increased workload" facing the chairman and non-executive directors at the bailed-out bank.
This newspaper revealed as far back as March that 70 workers had received pay increases -- at a time when Anglo was preparing to announce bad-loan losses of €14bn.
The pay rises were awarded to more than 70 staff who were taking on extra responsibilities as a result of the reduction in personnel.
Fine Gael said the pay hikes provided "further evidence that Fianna Fail is still in hock to the banks".
But Mr Dukes said: "I didn't take the full amount. It was in recognition of what other people were doing at the time. It just seemed to me to be the appropriate thing to do."
Mr Dukes was appointed to the board of Anglo Irish Bank in 2008 by Mr Lenihan to represent the public interest. He was then announced as its chairman in March of this year.
The former Fine Gael minister can continue to draw down his two Dail pensions while serving as the bank's chairman.
His ministerial pension was worth €45,470 last year, while the most recent figures for his Dail pension show that he was paid €53,906 in 2008.
Fine Gael's deputy finance spokesman Kieran O'Donnell said last night that he was "stunned" at the pay hikes authorised by the minister.
"Apparently, the pay hikes were granted because of the 'exceptional circumstances' at the bank," he commented.
"But the only exceptional circumstance at Anglo Irish is the way this zombie bank is being kept on life-support by Fianna Fail and the Greens."
The proposed 15pc increase for the chairman and a 66pc pay rise for non-executive directors were "far in excess" of what the independent committee had proposed, he said.
The Fine Gael TD added that Anglo Irish Bank had become the "single biggest drain" in the history of the Irish Exchequer.
Last week, Allied Irish Banks was at the centre of controversy after it emerged that it was still using chauffeur-driven cars for its senior executives, paying the home phone bills of some of its executives and subsidising sports club subscriptions for employees.
Meanwhile, Irish Nationwide is being bailed out to the tune of €3.2bn but its former boss Michael Fingleton has still not handed back his €1m bonus.