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Tuesday 12 November 2019

Noonan urged to meet AIB directors

ine Kerr Political Correspondent

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has no immediate plans to meet with AIB's public interest directors about their role in a controversial €3m payment.

Mr Noonan has not met with public interest directors, former Tanaiste and Labour leader Dick Spring and Dublin Airport Authority chief executive Declan Collier, since taking office.

And there is no meeting currently scheduled with Mr Spring and Mr Collier, who have acted as public interest directors at AIB for the past two years.

The bank was back in the spotlight this week after it emerged Colm Doherty, the former managing director, secured a €3m package when he stepped down last November.

A Department of Finance spokeswoman last night confirmed Mr Noonan had not met the Government-appointed public interest directors.

Ministers and opposition TDs have been critical of the board of directors for agreeing the package with Mr Doherty.

Sinn Fein's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty last night claimed the "first thing" Mr Noonan should be doing is meeting with the public interest directors to establish the facts around the €3m payment.

"It's in the public's interest to know how this happened, why this happened, how they allowed this to happen. That (meeting) should be taking place immediately," Mr Doherty said.

"Given that one of them is a member of a party in government, you would imagine that even from their own integrity point of view, they would call both members in to ask questions about this matter."

Asked about Mr Doherty's comments, a spokesman for the Department of Finance would only say that department officials are currently examining the matter of banking contracts.

The Government faces the prospect of having to pay millions to senior bank executives if it wants a clearout at the top of financial institutions.

Mr Noonan has now asked officials to tease out the exact nature of bankers' contracts and entitlements with the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

Former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has also pointed the finger at Mr Collier and Mr Spring over the payments to Mr Doherty, claiming they lobbied for his appointment.

While Mr Noonan has not met with the public interest directors at AIB, he has met with the executive chairman.

Mr Noonan did not include Mr Spring or Mr Collier in his call for a shake-up of bank boards earlier this week.

The minister said he had been talking about bank directors who were serving prior to the bank guarantee in 2008.

Mr Spring and Mr Collier were unavailable for comment last night.

Irish Independent

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