Friday 23 February 2018

Ex-minister Roche eyes €200,000 pay bonanza in new lobbying role

Dick Roche: two lobbying jobs
Dick Roche: two lobbying jobs
Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

FORMER Fianna Fail minister Dick Roche is on course to earn up to €200,000 this year in his new role as a lobbyist. This will be on top of his €50,000 public pension.

One of his jobs is to lobby against tougher rules on auditing the banks.

Mr Roche has reinvented himself as a Brussels lobbyist, citing his experience of the "trauma of the Irish banking collapse" as he urges the EU's policymakers not to come down too hard on his auditor clients.

Documents filed with the EU's Transparency Register show that Mr Roche, who lost his seat in Wicklow in the last general election, has been hired as a lobbyist by auditing giant Deloitte.

Mr Roche, who served as European affairs minister, said he will earn between €50,000 and €100,000 for the role this year.

He originally filed documents saying he earned this much between January and April alone, but later clarified to the Irish Independent that these were "estimated annual figures".

He is also working for Huawei, a Chinese electronics manufacturer, and expects to make €50,000 to €100,000 from it this year as well.

He gets this on top of his pension. Mr Roche received more than €130,000 in lump- sum payments following his retirement from politics last year and will get an annual pension of around €50,000 for the rest of his life.

Crisis

After 25 years as a politician, the former UCD lecturer and Wicklow TD has effectively switched sides.

Mr Roche will lobby for an easing of proposed rules on auditors. This follows sharp criticism of Europe's auditors for failing to warn about banking instability in the run-up to the financial crisis.

European authorities have come up with a tough new package of rules -- but this triggered outrage from the auditors, who sign off on the accounts of millions of European companies.

An email sent by Mr Roche earlier this year showed him offering to meet Austrian MEP Hans-Peter Martin, who sits on the EU's Economic Affairs Committee, to discuss the proposed rules. In the second sentence of the email, Mr Roche invokes his experience of the Irish crisis, saying: "Having been through the trauma of the Irish banking collapse my initial reaction to the proposals was that anything that would address the weaknesses that created the problems would be very welcome."

He goes on to say that, having examined the EU's proposal in detail for Deloitte, he believes a "number of the key proposals are ill-considered and could do considerable damage".

Irish Independent

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