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Monday 16 December 2019

Chief's discreet exit will save state funds -- and pension will soften blow

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THERE are two ways to go when the writing is on the wall -- discreetly or loudly.

The former is cheaper and efficient, the latter costly and messy.

Yesterday's decision by AIB group managing director Colm Doherty to silently depart his post by the end of the year has reactivated a thorny debate about remuneration for the country's top bankers and officials in state agencies, who have left their jobs in the wake of horrific losses and other controversies.

But no matter how intense public anger becomes over banker's salaries and bonus packages, the reality is that anger cannot stand in the way of their contractual entitlements.

All will hold on to their lucrative pensions and few, if any, will be penalised or dismissed for their alleged misconduct or incompetence.

Pensions are sacrosanct in Irish law and it would be toxic for the Government or any other body to try to upset them.

Still, the voluntary decision by Mr Doherty -- as well as 43 other directors and 31 senior executives who have left their positions in six of the institutions covered by the bank guarantee since 2008 -- has spared the taxpayer the costly and often fruitless route of openly sacking them.

It has also saved the Government and the bankers from explaining in public why they feel they are entitled to high rates of pay, bonuses and other entitlements.

Irish Independent

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