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Friday 22 August 2014

Ministers face tough task in bid to reduce salaries

Michael Brennan

Published 09/11/2012 | 05:00

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Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin

THE Government is still trying to find a way in the Budget of cutting the €500,000-plus salaries paid to senior bankers.

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But there is considerable doubt about whether it will be able to take any action.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has confirmed that bankers with salaries of more than €500,000 cannot be singled out for higher taxes.

He said any new measure would have to raise a sufficient amount of money so it would not be "tokenistic". He also said that it had to apply to a reasonably broad number of people.

Mr Howlin said he would be working with Finance Minister Michael Noonan to ensure what was in the Budget was "fair".

Mr Noonan has engaged consultants Mercer to review bankers' salaries, but the review will not provide any options for him to make cuts.

Pain

Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald accused the Government of having a hands-off approach to bankers' pay.

"A review and kicking the can down the road will not cut it," she said.

Independent TD Richard Boyd Barrett said there was a "golden circle" of bankers who were walking away with pensions worth hundreds of thousands of euro.

The Oireachtas Finance Committee will call the six public interest directors on the boards of the bailed-out banks to give evidence on November 29.

Labour TD Ciaran Lynch, who is the committee chairman, said he would ask them what power the banks had to reduce the salaries of their own employees.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said: "It's a difficult time for a lot of people in Ireland and I think it's important that senior bank executives are seen to share the pain."

Irish Independent

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