John Bruton is 'entitled' to official trade trips
FORMER Taoiseach John Bruton is entitled to attend trade missions and similar events overseas that are hosted and funded by the Government in his role as a lobbyist for the financial services sector.
Mr Bruton claims voters pointing the finger at bankers for the economic collapse and resulting austerity are the same as people in the 17th century who blamed witches for their woes.
He also believes the governments of Europe will not be able to pay for the commitments to poorer people on health and social welfare.
The former Fine Gael leader's comments in a private speech to lawyers in the US last year, revealed in the Sunday Independent, have emerged following the controversy over his remarks last week that the 1916 Easter Rising was "completely unnecessary".
Mr Bruton is entitled to attend trade missions and similar events overseas that are hosted and funded by the Government, a spokesperson for the Department of An Taoiseach said.
His latest defence of bankers appear to have been made in his capacity as a lobbyist for the banks based in the IFSC in Dublin.
He has previously cautioned against the "scapegoating of individuals" and called for the forgiveness of those blamed for the economic downturn.
Mr Bruton is paid a reported six-figure sum as chairman of IFSC Ireland, on top of his ministerial and TD pensions worth up to €150,000. He is also a non-executive director with two blue-chip companies.
In the video of his New York speech, Mr Bruton commented on the volatility of voters in Europe. To laughter from his audience, he said "credulous" people believe bankers are responsible for the financial meltdown.
"Populations in Europe are blaming austerity on bankers and anonymous forces like that… most like in the 17th century, people blamed witches for things," he said.
Mr Bruton's position with IFSC Ireland comes with a reported six figure salary.