Saturday 20 January 2018

Bonus points for the minister

ALLIED Irish Banks' decision to pay a number of its employees bonuses amounting to €40m provoked public outrage equal to, if not greater than, any other twist in the financial crisis which has inflicted so much pain on every citizen of this country.

This was the decision of an institution brought to its knees by its own greed and recklessness. It displayed an extraordinary arrogance and contempt for the taxpayers on whose grudging bounty it relies for its very existence. It had to be reversed. Reversed it has been, and it is refreshing to see Finance Minister Brian Lenihan taking a firm line with Ireland's biggest bank -- or any bank.

But the complacent and mealy-mouthed terms in which AIB has responded to the minister's decision do not encourage confidence that the bank has taken cognisance of its new, humble -- and soon to be slimmed-down -- role in a reformed financial system.

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