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Small shareholders vent their spleen at Bank of Ireland board

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The top brass also came under fire from Eleanor Dunne, one of the bank's staff and the youngest shareholder to speak, who told her superiors they had "no idea of the problem" and lacerated the secret bonuses which had only been revealed in the media after the bank misled the late Brian Lenihan and the Dail about the number and scale of bonus payments.

"To say we were disappointed is an understatement -- we were embarrassed on behalf of the industry," she said.

While the onslaught continued, Pat Molloy parried with blandness.

"You are entitled to your opinion," he purred again and again as he was charged with everything from financial treason to outstaying his welcome.

Having joined the bank after the crash, he has a certain credibility allied to social skills that the taciturn CEO Richie Boucher lacks.

Half-a-dozen shareholders suggested that Mr Boucher was overpaid or simply not up to the job, but like the bank's other directors, he continues in the job today following support from institutional investors.

The most extraordinary aspect of the bank's pompously named annual general court (AGM to the rest of us) was that five of the six directors standing for re-election served on the board prior to 2008. Despite the bank's avowed policy of "refreshing" the board, it is about as fresh as John McEnroe's or Bjorn Borg's socks.

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