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Monday 19 February 2018

Fingleton report to remain secret

Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

THE Department of Finance is refusing to publish a report on payments to controversial former Irish Nationwide chief executive Michael Fingleton.

The stricken building society's public interest directors were requested by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan to investigate payments to Mr Fingleton, following revelations of a €1m 'bonus' as part of a €2.4m package for 2008.

The package included a salary of €893,000, benefits worth €70,000, and another payment of €450,000, most of which covered a massive backlog in untaken leave.

Mr Fingleton last night faced calls to return the €450,000 sum following revelations about it in yesterday's Irish Independent.

Mr Lenihan tasked directors Adrian Kearns and Rory O'Ferrall with examining salary, bonus, pension and other payments made to Mr Fingleton by the ailing lender.

However, officials are now refusing to publish the report or release it under Freedom of Information rules.

Following legal advice, the department claims the report cannot be published because it contains information received in confidence as well as commercially sensitive data.

The department has also refused to give a copy of the report to Mr Fingleton (72).

Reckless lending under Mr Fingleton's stewardship culminated in the institution recording losses of €2.5bn last year.

The losses were more than the building society ever made throughout its history and the cost of a state bailout is now expected to be €5.4bn.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael communications spokesman Leo Varadkar last night called on the former bank boss to give back the unpaid leave payment of close to €450,000.

"It beggars belief that anyone should be entitled to €450,000 worth of holiday pay," said Mr Varadkar.

"But it's even more astounding when that person turns out to be the former chief executive of a building society which has had to be bailed out by the taxpayer."

Irish Independent

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