Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has asked Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, to confirm whether he intends vote against “the obscene salary of Richie Boucher” at the forthcoming Bank of Ireland AGM.
Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil, which were taken today by the Minister for Finance, Deputy Doherty said:
“Minister, in April of last year An Taoiseach told the Dáil that he expected a ‘substantial contribution from the leadership of the banks on pay and pensions’. He further stated that, ‘it is right that it should be because these are extraordinary salaries’.
“The Taoiseach made his comments in the context of the Mercer Report’s recommendation that a 6-10% payroll decrease be implemented by the banks.
“A year later we know that not one top banker has taken a pay cut as a result of the Mercer Report’s recommendations. In particular, citizens will be shocked and angry to learn that once again Bank of Ireland CEO Richie Boucher has earned an obscene salary at a bank which was only saved by the sacrifices of the Irish taxpayer.
“Mr Boucher was paid a total package of €843,000 last year.
“Bank of Ireland only exists because it was bailed out by the citizens of this state. The costs incurred by the taxpayers on behalf of this bank has been immense.
“Despite all the hardship being endured by ordinary, hardworking people across this state, top bankers like Richie Boucher are continuing, to this day, to show utter contempt for citizens.”
The Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson said that the contribution from top bankers, to which the Taoiseach referred last year and in which he clearly stated the necessity and obligation for pay cuts, never materialised.
He said that officials had informed the Minister for Finance prior to last year’s Bank of Ireland AGM that it would be inappropriate for him to endorse Richie Boucher’s salary on the grounds that the Bank was to submit its proposal on reducing pay in reply to the Mercer Report.
Pearse Doherty continued:
“Yet subsequently you, as the representative of this state, which has a 15% shareholding in the Bank of Ireland, abstained from the vote at the Bank of Ireland AGM.
“Yesterday in reply to a question from myself you said that you have not considered your voting position on Richie Boucher’s salary at this year’s upcoming AGM.
“Minister it is very clear what you need to do. It is very clear what the citizens of this state expect you to do.
“You need to do what you failed to do last year, despite the advice you were given by your own Department, and vote against the obscene salary of Richie Boucher.
“Failure to do this will send out the message that paying obscene salaries while banks are repossessing homes and refusing credit to Small and Medium Enterprises is acceptable to this government.”