Sunday 18 March 2018

Taoiseach Enda Kenny refuses to rule out salary cap break for AIB new boss

Brian Hutton

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stopped short of ruling out AIB's request to break the salary cap for top bosses.

Mr Kenny said he hasn't seen any evidence why the bailed-out lender should be allowed to pay its new chief executive over €500,000.

But he added that he wanted to hear from Finance Minister Michael Noonan on the case being made by the bank.

Mr Kenny reiterated that it would have to be a "truly exceptional" case to warrant breaching the €500,000 ceiling on bankers' pay, introduced in March 2009 amid public anger over the economic crisis.

"The cap was put in place for very good reason," he said.

"No good reason has come across my desk as to why that should change."

But pressed by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams in the Dail, he refused to dismiss out of hand the possibility of relaxing the cap.

Mr Kenny would only say €500,000 was an extraordinary amount of money, adding the bank was now effectively State-owned and was much smaller than it once was.

Louth TD Mr Adams said half a million euro was an obscene amount of money to pay anyone, particularly at a time of dire distress, and demanded a vow from government that it will not allow AIB's request under any circumstances.

"I think the AIB have a cheek asking for authority to negotiate for a salary above half a million," he added.

Mr Noonan is to report to Cabinet colleagues on the AIB request.

In Opposition, Fine Gael argued the cap should be set at €250,000.

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