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Outrage over BOI chief's €831k pay deal - where is €500k limit?

A BANK boss's €831,000 pay packet drew strong criticism from opposition politicians today.

Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher's remuneration last year included a salary of €623,000, which exceeds the Government's €500,000 salary cap for bankers set under the terms of the original bank guarantee.

Mr Boucher's pay package included:

•a €123,000 pension cash allowance for waiving his right to retire at the age of 55,

•a €174,000 pension contribution from the bank,

•€34,000 in other remuneration, which can cover car allowance, club membership and benefits in kind.


The Bank's annual report shows that he was awarded €690,000, but waived 10pc of his salary, or €67,000 of that. The waiver is extended into 2012.

The Department of Finance said it approved a salary of €623,000 for Mr Boucher in 2009 and it had not changed since then.

Mr Boucher's package is far above the €500,000 plus €175,000 pension the Government recently sanctioned for AIB's new boss, David Duffy.

However, critics pointed out that although the State is a minority stakeholder at 15pc in the bank, the BoI still avails of the State's bank guarantee scheme and has received billions in State aid.

Fianna Fail Seanad Finance spokesman Darragh O'Brien today said that the remuneration figure was "excessive", particularly at a time when we are not back to "normal" banking in Ireland.

Banks were not extending credit to small businesses and first-time buyers seeking mortgages were finding it extremely difficult, the Dublin-based senator said.

Neither Bank of Ireland or AIB had met their targets for lending to the business sector last year.

Senator O'Brien, who has worked in the pension industry, said a €174,000 pension contribution from the bank in one year would be regarded as exceptional.

It was very difficult for the ordinary working person to "stomach" this kind of remuneration package, he said.

The bank was said to be going in the right direction, losing millions instead of billions, yet there was a price to be paid with 750 jobs being lost.

"Bank workers are normal working people who have taken a lot of grief over the last couple of years. It is wrong," he said. Of course you pay for expertise at the highest level, but a normal bank worker looks at someone being paid 10 to 20 times their annual salary and will ask themselves 'are they worth that much?' The average person will say 'No,'" Senator O'Brien added.

Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Boucher's salary was "outrageous".

"Ordinary people are footing the bill for this banker's salary. It is bad enough that Richie Boucher was awarded the whopper payment of €623,000, but what makes this even worse is the fact that this breeches the Government's own pay cap by €123,000," she said.

Bank of Ireland said Mr Boucher's salary is the same as the previous year and was agreed with the former Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan.