Wednesday 13 December 2017

FF TDs furious at bank chief's €1.5m top-up

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

Fianna Fail backbenchers last night voiced their anger at "obscene" payments to banking bosses.

The €1.5m pension top-up for Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher and the €1m bonus for former Irish Nationwide chief Michael Fingleton were severely criticised.

Westmeath TD Mary O'Rourke made a passionate attack on the payments, saying the money involved was "obscene".

Based on the payments into the pension fund, FF senator Terry Leyden calculated the former bosses of Bank of Ireland "expect to live to 140".

He also added to the calls for Mr Fingleton to return his bonus. "We want the money. Show us the money," he said in the Seanad.

FF backbenchers said there had been "a lot of negative commentary" about the latest banking revelations.


"It doesn't seem fair that others have to take cuts, despite what it says in their contracts and yet bankers' contracts hold firm," one TD said.

Earlier in the Dail, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny demanded that Mr Cowen take action under the State bank guarantee legislation to withdraw Mr Boucher's €1.5m top-up.

"You stand and your government stands idly by," he said.

"What you have done here is simply an outrage, I believe. It is an affront to every single person in this country that it is allowed," he added.

But Mr Cowen insisted the €1.5m payment was not being paid directly to Mr Boucher, but going into a pension fund for all former CEOs of Bank of Ireland.

"Contrary to how it is being portrayed, it is going into the fund," he said. "I don't hold any brief for the Bank of Ireland pension fund," he added.

His coalition partners in the Green Party are again promising there will be substantial public elements to the forthcoming banking inquiry.

Mr Cowen said serious questions have to be asked and will be asked by the inquiry. The Taoiseach said he was not aware of poor banking practices in Irish Nationwide Building Society when he was the minister.

"I don't think it was ever brought to my attention that that sort of problem existed. Certainly not," he said.

Irish Independent

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