McDonald challenges Tánaiste on former bankers’ pensions

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has this morning called on the government to set out the legal rationale of the Attorney General’s advice that a super levy cannot be applied to runaway banking chief’s pensions.

Deputy McDonald TD said:

“Six top executives in the former Anglo Irish Bank are earning in excess of €500,000. This makes a mockery of the government’s €500,000 cap for bankers.

“This Bank, which was bailed out by Fianna Fáil and is presided over by a former Fine Gael leader, thumbs its nose at the Irish people while the Labour party does nothing.

“Labour’s former leader Dick Spring, who continues to receive his ministerial pension, plays the role of public watchdog on AIB as all the gold plated pensions for executives of AIB were put in place.

“As December’s budget gets closer people are outraged that the bankers who brought the state to its knees are continuing to enjoy exorbitant pay and pensions.

“As far back as last April Michael Noonan asked IBRC Chairman Alan Dukes to reduce his pay and was told by Mr Dukes to get lost.

“It is simply unacceptable for a former Fine Gael leader, who himself continues to claim a ministerial pension, can tell the Government to get lost whilst presiding over this bankrupt bank?

“Government tells us they have to pay these big pensions because these people have rights. What about the rights of those who have been denied homecare packages, whose child benefit has been cut, or of those on trollies in our Hospitals?

“In opposition the Labour party railed against bankers but now do nothing about their gratuitous pensions and salaries?

“Again in opposition Fine Gael and Labour demanded the introduction of a levy on bankers’ bonuses. Eventually after some foot dragging Fianna Fáil relented.

“Will the government now bring forward legislation to introduce a levy on these exorbitant pensions and salaries? If the cabinet has received contrary advice they need to set out to the people the arguments against introducing such a lobby.

“How many of the top Anglo executives who presided over the crisis in that bank have walked away with Gold plated pensions? What does the Government propose to do about that?”