Saturday 25 November 2017

Wanted: one president, must be male, invisible, pulse is optional

Former Irish Nationwide chief Michael Fingleton. Photo: TOM BURKE
Former Irish Nationwide chief Michael Fingleton. Photo: TOM BURKE

As one bearded baldy bloke bows out from the presidential race, is it not time for us to rescue another BBB from the wastelands of retirement to which he was so hastily and unjustly dispatched?

Michael Fingleton is surely the embodiment of all that is good about the Celtic Tiger. He has throughout been quite fearless in defence of his own self-interest. He rather resembles the captain of the ship, after he has steered it into an iceberg, and who next commandeers a place in the only lifeboat. Once there, with a nice tartan rug over his lap, and a flask of hot soup in his hand, he issues orders: "Right! Four crewmen to man the oars, if you please. Excellent! Stand back, women and children, or I open fire. Right then -- lower away!"

Consider the Fingletonian achievements heretofore. He'd managed to build up a pension pot of some €29.4m in Irish Nationwide by 2007, meanwhile raising his salary by some 10pc, year after year. He then managed to talk the board of Irish Nationwide into transferring €27.6m into a company owned by him. However, most of this vanished in the property collapse. Not to be outdone, his newly-boosted pay, bonuses, fees and benefits for 2008 alone totalled €2.417m. And even after the Government had bailed out Irish Nationwide by some €5.4 BILLION, he still collared another million for his pension pot. But the best bit was that on his retirement, he got an €11,500 gold watch, with Irish Nationwide -- in other words, you and me, gentle reader -- also paying the €9,650 benefit-in-kind tax.

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