Senior bankers should cut their own pay and pensions, says Enda Kenny

Government expects ‘substantial contribution’, Taoiseach tells Dáil

The Government is expecting senior bankers to make a “substantial contribution” to reducing the cost of their pay and pensions, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

He told the Dáil yesterday that a response by the banks was expected in the next few weeks.

Responding to questions on the issue of Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher's €843,000 pay package, Mr Kenny said Minister for Finance Michael Noonan had commissioned an independent analysis of the pay scales and pension packages of bankers.

“The Minister has also made a recommendation on behalf of the Government that banks reduce their cost base by between 6 per cent and 10 per cent. He expects to receive a response in this regard in the next couple of weeks.


“As I said, it is expected that it will include a substantial contribution from the leadership of the banks,” said the Taoiseach.

He added it was important that everybody understood the banks were an important part of Ireland’s economy.

'Squeeze the banks'
"They are not making money and would not be in existence but for the taxpayer. It is important that the Government squeeze the banks and require them to reduce their cost base," said Mr Kenny.

Government sources refused to speculate later on what kind of pay reductions Mr Kenny was expecting bankers to come up with, but the annoyance expressed yesterday by Bank of Ireland shareholders was described as “perfectly understandable”.

Shareholders vented their anger about the remuneration of Mr Boucher and the bank's chairman, Archie Kane, at the company's three-hour annual meeting in Dublin's Burlington Hotel yesterday.

Independent TD Shane Ross criticised Mr Kane’s €490,000 package for what he called a “part-time” role . Mr Ross reminded the board that most shareholders in the room had seen their stock fall in value, had been paid no dividends, and had “no hope of recovering their money”.

“Nobody [among the board of directors] has taken a beating at all,” Mr Ross said. “Everyone out here has taken a beating for five years.”

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins is a columnist with and former political editor of The Irish Times

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times