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BoI Boucher should quit, says Spring

Prominent Labour TD Arthur Spring has told Finance Minister Michael Noonan that he should seek the resignation of Bank of Ireland CEO Richie Boucher because his behaviour at a Dail committee "could be damaging to the Bank of Ireland'' brand.

Mr Spring, a former Bank of Ireland official, also told Mr Noonan, whose Government maintains a 15 per cent stake in Bank of Ireland, that he should canvass and build "alliances'' with other investors on this issue.

In an indication of growing restlessness within Labour back-benchers over the Government's laissez-faire attitude to the banks, Mr Spring cited Mr Noonan's position as the "State representative for the 15 per cent shareholding that the citizens of Ireland hold in Bank of Ireland'' as a justification for the demand.

Mr Spring claims that Mr Boucher showed contempt for "the State, our public representatives, the citizens of Ireland and Bank of Ireland customers'' at the recent Dail committee hearings.

In a scathing attack on the performance of Mr Boucher -- Mr Spring also claimed the Dail had been "circumvented'' by the bank CEO who had been "uncooperative'' to such an extent the Finance Committee had been unable to ascertain if the Bank of Ireland was conducting its affairs "in the best interest of the citizens and the State under the laws and licenses of the land''.

"The citizens of Ireland have felt the effects of our banking collapse only too deeply,'' said Mr Spring, who added that they are and are now being "treated with a complete disregard for how much pain and suffering has been endured by families and businesses, culminating in unemployment, emigration and financial hopelessness''.

Mr Boucher, he said, appeared to be "unappreciative of the magnitude of the hardship that has been thrust upon citizens as a result of a reckless banking culture".

Mr Spring also warned the minister that his sentiments were shared on "a cross-party basis" and noted that "the Finance Committee has not had this experience with any other institutions''.

The Labour TD also asked Mr Noonan whether "Mr Boucher's contempt for the committee is a hangover from the culture which presided within the bank when he occupied the position of Director for Retail Banking".

The Labour TD also informed Mr Noonan that his actions were "not motivated by my previous employment at Bank of Ireland or my current position as a customer, nor do I bear any personal animus towards Mr Boucher''.

Sunday Independent