Hanafin tells Fingleton to give €1m back and stop boasting
FORMER Irish Nationwide boss Michael Fingleton has been warned to give back his €1m bonus to the building society -- instead of "boasting" about giving it to charity.
It came as reports suggested that Mr Fingleton's plan was to quietly distribute the bonus -- which he promised to repay one year ago -- to a number of Irish charities.
Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Mary Hanafin said she could not accept the argument that Mr Fingleton was going to give it to charity.
"Charity is a private thing, everybody gives to charity, it's not something he should be going around kind of boasting about.
"It's money that he said he would give back and I believe he should," she said.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern also said it had been the Government's position that it was Irish Nationwide that was owed the money. "I think it should go back to the building society, absolutely," he said.
Mr Fingleton resigned as Irish Nationwide chief executive in April last year after it emerged that he had received the €1m bonus just weeks after the Government introduced the state guarantee the previous September.
The State has since provided €2.6bn to keep Irish Nationwide afloat after billions of its toxic property loans were taken over by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).
It had the highest 'haircut' of any financial institution, with an average writedown of 58pc imposed on the value of its loans by NAMA valuers.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen was asked yesterday if he shared the public's anger about the failure by Mr Fingleton to return his bonus.
"It's been the Government's position that that €1m should be returned and that's what we're continuing to seek to achieve. I'd like to have seen it returned by now," he said.
COMMENT BY MARTINA DEVLIN: PAGE 25