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Government has power to reduce ex-bankers pensions

5 November, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Speaking today Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said that “the government can and must reduce the massive pensions for former bankers.”

The Donegal South West TD’s comments were in response to claims by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan that he was powerless to act on the issue.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Last week we heard yet again that senior bankers who were instrumental in the financial crash of 2008 are still receiving massive pensions.

“Former AIB CEO Eugene Sheehy receives an annual pension of €500,000. His successor, Colm Doherty, now also retired will receive €300,000 a year when he turns 65.

“Given the damage that these individuals caused not only to the banking sector but to the economy, people are right to be incensed that tax-payers’ money is being used to give these people grotesque pension payments.

“Unfortunately we have heard all of this before. When Fianna Fáil were in government the then Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Finance Minister Brian Lenihan signed off on a €1.5million pension top up to AIB CEO Richie Boucher despite the role he played in the collapse of the bank. While Richie Boucher waived this payment under political pressure the fact that the government was willing to sign off on it should not be forgotten.

“While people came to expect this kind of behaviour from Fianna Fáil people are angry that Fine Gael and Labour, now in government are doing the very same thing. They are claiming that they are powerless to act.

“However this is not the case. After sustained public and political pressure the late Brian Lenihan introduced an excessive banker’s levy in 2010. This meant that while the government couldn’t stop the payment of the bonuses they could claw back 90% of the money.

“Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan know that the same approach could be used to the grotesque pensions of ex-bankers, and indeed for former Government Ministers as well. This could apply to pensions for bankers and indeed former government ministers.

“The fact that Finance Minister Michael Noonan falsely claims that he is powerless to do anything about these massive pay-outs is generating substantial public anger.

“The Minister for Finance has the power to reduce these payments. The government can and must reduce the massive pensions for former bankers. They could introduce the necessary legislation in December’s budget to apply levies on these payments in order to recoup the people’s money.

“Once again Fine Gael and Labour are refusing to do in office what they called for when in opposition.” ENDS

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