Sunday 26 January 2020

Gorse Hill solicitor demands to know when bank board members will leave

Brian O'Donnell
Brian O'Donnell
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Gorse Hill solicitor Brian O'Donnell - who owes Bank of Ireland €70m - has asked when bank's board members will leave at AGM.

Together with his son, Blake, Mr O'Donnell, who is still battling the bank over the ownership of Gorse Hill in Killiney, took a seat in the front row of the O'Reilly Hall, UCD  before the board members.

In the question and answers session, Mr O'Donnell claimed he had kept his hand up "for an hour and a half" before being called.

He then went on to demand to know when the top four board members - Richie Boucher, Archie Kane, Andrew Keating and Patrick Kennedy - would be leaving their positions, given that they had been there for many years.

Gorse Hill
Gorse Hill

"When will they be going?" asked O'Donnell, to a small smattering of applause from the room.

Mr Kane replied that their focus was on driving the performance of the bank.

"We will be staying for some time," he said firmly.

Mr O'Donnell did not ask any more questions  or make any more comments and remained in his seat.

On the way in to the meeting, the O'Donnell group handed out documents to shareholders calling on them to vote out the current board  on the grounds that the bank is still in "critical condition", that its reputation among customers is at "rock bottom" and that management salaries "soar while the share price tanks."

The documents urge shareholders to fill out an attached proxy form and post it to a UK based company, called Remove BOI Board limited, with an address in Kent - where the O'Donnells are currently based.

The BOI AGM saw only about half of the seats filled - mostly with retirees.

The mood in the room was largely one of dissatisfaction - with many asking when a dividend would finally be payed.

Shane Ross TD questioned why so few shares were held by senior board members who were taking large sums of money out of the bank in salaries.

Archie Kane replied that the requirement was only that 1,000 shares be held by board members and that it was a matter of one's own discretion.

The AGM is ongoing.

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