Finance boss defends €59k consultancy pay for €400k bank chief
The outgoing boss of the Department of Finance has defended a €59,000 annual consultancy payment received by Bank of Ireland governor Archie Kane (right), which he gets on top of his €400,000 salary.
However, secretary general John Moran is refusing to say what Mr Kane specifically does for the consultancy money, saying it is a commercial matter between the bank and its governor.
In a letter to the Dail's spending watchdog, Mr Moran said that even though the State has a 14pc shareholding in the bank, it wouldn't be appropriate for the department to reveal the specifics of his work.
The consultancy payment pushes Mr Kane's annual package up to €490,000 – just €10,000 shy of the government-imposed cap on bank boss salaries.
It comes on top of a basic salary of €394,000 and €37,000 worth of accommodation, car and utility allowances.
Mr Moran was asked by the Dail Public Accounts Committee for information about the consultancy work done by Mr Kane after appearing before it last month.
In his response, received by the committee, Mr Moran said that at the time of Mr Kane's appointment, the department was advised he would be performing additional services for the bank's UK businesses and would be paid separately for this.
"This consultancy agreement relates to advice and services and the specific terms and conditions of this consultancy are a commercial matter between Bank of Ireland and Mr Kane," said Mr Moran.
PAC member Shane Ross criticised Mr Moran's response, saying: "As there is public funds involved, the department is entitled to know where it is going and what it is for and they should be in a position to tell the committee."
The secretary general defended the additional payment, pointing out that around 35pc of Bank of Ireland's assets are based in the UK. He said it was the bank's position that Mr Kane commits significant time to his role and that it takes priority over any other business interests.
Mr Moran also pointed out to the committee that even with the consultancy payment, Mr Kane's package was below the €500,000 salary cap.
When asked to provide details of Mr Kane's consultancy work, a spokeswoman for Bank of Ireland said it had provided "extensive disclosure on directors' remuneration" in its annual reports and accounts.
Mr Kane's package makes him the second best remunerated executive at Bank of Ireland. Its chief executive, Richie Boucher, earned €843,000 last year
The Government pay cap doesn't apply to Mr Boucher because he was hired before it was introduced. Mr Boucher has faced criticism of his package, most recently at Bank of Ireland's AGM in April where one shareholder labelled it "a disgrace".
Mr Moran last month informed the Government of his intention to step down and he will leave the top job at the Department of Finance later this year, once a successor is appointed. He has previously worked for law firms and major banks, including Zurich Financial Markets, and plans to move on to new ventures.
He is expected to be replaced by a candidate from within the civil service.