Tánaiste Calls On Bank Boss To 'Reflect On Public's Anger'

The Tánaiste is calling on the Bank of Ireland Chief Executive to reflect on the 'anger' surrounding his €1.5 million pension top-up.

The call comes within days of the Minister for Social Protection, Éamon Ó Cuív's challenge to Bank of Ireland chief executive, Richie Boucher, to refuse a €1.5 million pension top-up.

Mr Ó Cuiv said on Monday that given the mess the banks had found themselves in, he could not understand why any leading banker would accept bonuses.

Today, Mary Coughlan stopped short of calling on Mr Boucher to forego the payment, but said he should reflect on the mood of the people.

"There is a natural anger..that the issue of banking has caused great trauma to the Irish people. Those who have the honour of being appointed as chief executives should appreciate that anger," she said.

Earlier, the Taoiseach said the Department of Finance was legally prevented from stopping the €1.5m pension payment.

Brian Cowen said the Cabinet had taken advice from the Attorney General, who said the Government had no legal authority to stop the bank making a payment into its own pension fund.

Meanwhile today, the Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has announced the appointment of Mr Knut Kjaer and the re-appointment of Mr John Canning Jr to the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission.

The National Pensions Reserve Fund was established by the Government in 2001 to meet as much as possible of the costs of Ireland’s social welfare and public service pensions from 2025 until at least 2055. The Fund also has investments in Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks at the direction of the Minister for Finance, which is part of their recapitalisation. The Fund’s value was €22.3 billion at end-2009.

Announcing the appointments today yhe Minister said: "I am delighted to be able to announce the appointment of two such high-calibre appointees to the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission as Mr Kjaer and Mr Canning.

"It is a tribute to the standing of the Fund internationally that two such respected individuals have agreed to serve as commissioners."

Both appointments are for five-year terms, as provided for in the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000, and run from 2 April 2010.


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