AIB director got €200k from NTMA job

Kevin Doyle

FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan is under fresh fire this evening after he paid a staggering €200,000 bonus to a top civil servant.

And it has emerged that the recipient -- Michael Somers -- is also a public interest director of AIB.

Mr Lenihan already stands accused this week of being at fault for the €40m AIB bonus debacle.

In the latest scandal to rock the Government, Mr Somers trousered €200,000 in bonuses last year for doing what economist David Williams called: "A job a monkey could do."

Mr Somers retired as head of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) with a lump sum payment of €842,000 shortly after pocketing the massive bonus. And no sooner was he out the door than Mr Lenihan had appointed him as a public interest director with AIB.

In recent days, as AIB came close to paying out €40m in bonuses, the public interest directors at the bank have been accused of being "asleep at the wheel".

For years, Mr Somers was the country's highest-paid civil servant but his exact NTMA remuneration was a closely guarded secret until his retirement in November 2009.

Earlier this year, McWilliams said the job was similar to that of a junior analyst in a bank.

"It's a job a monkey could do," he said, adding that a salary of around €80,000 would be appropriate.

Mr Somers was on an annual salary of €565,000 with the potential for bonuses worth 75pc of his pay.

In 2008 he was paid nearly €1m of taxpayers' money, including bonuses worth over €400,000. And even as the bottom fell out of the country's finances he was given another "performance-related payment" of €200,000 in 2009.

Just weeks before walking away from the body charged with borrowing money for Ireland, he wrote to the Finance Minister warning him not to overpay staff being hired for NAMA.