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Posts tagged ‘Brian Lenihan’

Irish Finance Ministry Reveals It Has Lost Banking Crisis Files

We are sure there is a joke in here somewhere but it is no laughing matter.
Following a request for copies of 8 documents  of correspondence between
Ireland’s (former) finance minister and the nations’ largest bank
executives
, the Irish minstry of finance has been forced to admit that
it cannot find two out of the eight. The documents, previously
100% redacted, raises questions as to whether other documents have gone
‘missing’. As RTE
reports
, the Department of Finance said it had carried out a widespread
search for the documents and it was not clear why the original versions
could not be located
. Those darn leprechauns… We are sure, however,
it
has nothing to do with the Irish banks “picking bailout numbers out of their
arses.”

Documents relating to the banking crisis have gone missing at the Department of Finance.

The department has conceded that some correspondence forwarded from Bank of Ireland to the former minister for finance Brian Lenihan can no longer be located.

In 2009, the department was asked under Freedom of Information to release copies of all correspondence between the late Mr Lenihan and the chief executives of the banks during the period August 2008 to March 2009.The department released eight items.Late last year, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty requested repeat copies of these documents.He was told that two out of the eight could no longer be found.When released in 2009, both had been completely redacted.They concerned correspondence between the governor of Bank of Ireland Richard Burrows and an advisor to the Jupiter group, Noel Corcoran.Jupiter was trying to buy Bank of Ireland at the time.Mr Doherty said the fact that the department could not locate records was worrying ahead of the banking inquiry.He said it raised questions as to whether other documents may have gone missing.

In a statement to RTÉ News this evening, the Department of Finance said it had carried out a widespread search for the documents and it was not clear why the original versions could not be located.It said that it had undertaken a project which would ensure the completeness and integrity of its records from the time of the bank guarantee.It said that it was not aware of any documents relating to the bank guarantee which may have gone missing.Mr Doherty said: “These letters existed in 2009.  They were released but the content was fully redacted to a journalist under the Freedom of Information legislation.”However I have now been informed that these letters have gone missing …………..

full article at source: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-10/irish-finance-ministry-reveals-it-has-lost-banking-crisis-files

Comment:

By Thomás Aengus O Cléirigh

All I can say is in this photo!

carers2

The Department of Finance is still run by the same incompetent civil servants (at best) that served under the Gombeen Lenihan, they have a vested interest to make sure their political masters are kept safe! These crooks must not be allowed to get away with this treachery! Naturally there is a cover-up and we the citizens will be hoodwinked and bamboozled into accepting hogwash and lame excuses. There may even be the promise of an investigation but nobody will be found to have done anything wrong! Democracy in Ireland is dead we are now living in a dictatorship of the Bankers and the gangsters who support them through the Irish civil service! The time has come to call these “faceless corrupt servants” of the people to account!

Deferring the recapitalisation deadline to after the general election. Was it a political stroke?

 By namawinelake 

 Yesterday’s decision announced by Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan that the next injections of capital into the banks would be deferred to after the general election on 25th February has been attacked as a political stroke by opposition politicians. The decision will effectively push the next injections well into March 2011 because the next Dail is only due to meet on 9th March, 2011 (and that is set in stone by order of the Taoiseach when dissolving the Dail). And given the likely outcome of the election (a FG/Labour coalition) there may be some horsetrading to be still resolved by 9th March. You would expect €7bn, potentially, of state spending to be given a high priority but it could well be later in March when the injections take place.
Was it a political stroke? I think yes, but I don’t think it was primarily aimed at undermining the Opposition. It has been known since early January that the Department of Finance and the NTMA have been seeking an extension to the February 2011 deadline but that they have been rebuffed by the Central Bank of Ireland and the ECB/IMF. The request for the extension is believed to really be about extending to Bank of Ireland every opportunity for private capital raising which might avoid majority state control. And behind that position is the principle that Bank of Ireland, at least, should survive outside state control and be a leading participant in any future banking landscape in Ireland. That position does not coincide with the CBI’s which is more relaxed about BoI being foreign owned and controlled. And that position was reflected in the detached language used in the CBI statement yesterday. But it seems the Minister got his way or at least secured more breathing space for Bank of Ireland. And by throwing his hands in the air with this “mandate” business he was able to save some face.
The obvious question prompted by the Minister’s Damascene conversion to democratic consensus is if the government doesn’t have a mandate to inject €7bn into the banks then what mandate does it have to (1) auction off c€14bn of deposits at Anglo/INBS (2) sell off EBS (3) decide to exclude €4.6bn of associated lending to be transferred to NAMA with sub-€20m land and development loans (4) increase CBI ELA by billions to replace fleeing deposits (5) repay hundreds of millions to bondholders – surely these current decisions should have been (or in some cases should be) deferred for consideration by the incoming administration?
We are expecting a statement later today from Bank of Ireland regarding the debt-swap of the so-called Canadian bonds (€300m at par value where BoI has offered a debt-swap which would see a 56% haircut or €168m capital accretion if there is 100% take-up). I expect we will see some initiatives in the coming days from BoI to privately (that is, outside state control) fund the remaining ~€1.4bn capital requirement. It will be riveting to see how the forthcoming payment of preference share dividends is made to the NPRF.

source: http://wp.me/pNlCf-12i

NAMA report and accounts for Q3, 2010 – is there a political reason for the delay in their publication?

By namawinelake

Money and Banking Statistics: December 2010
Well one thing is for sure, the period between NAMA delivering its quarterly report and accounts to the Department of Finance and the DoF publishing said documents is growing larger with the passage of each quarter as illustrated below:
 
QuarterCovering period toDelivered to DoFPublished
131st March, 201030th June, 201013th July, 2010
230th June, 201030th Sept, 20102nd November, 2010
330th Sept, 201031st Dec, 2010Still waiting………

 
There was a detailed entry on here at the start of January, 2011 examining the likely features of the Q3, 2010 report and accounts. From an incumbent party political viewpoint, the sensitive issue with these accounts will be the fact that NAMA has lost some €2bn+ since its incorporation. How? NAMA purchased loans by reference to a valuation date of 30th November, 2009 and although some markets have improved since then, the home market where the assets underpinning two thirds of NAMA’s loans are located has tanked. Also NAMA paid a Long Term Economic Value of an average of 10% above the value of the asset. Now it is true that 5% of NAMA consideration for loans is in the form of subordinated debt which will only be honoured if NAMA breaks even and it is also true that the NAMA Act provides for a levy on the banks proportionate to the value of loans absorbed (so Anglo and INBS will need cough up more than 50% of any ultimate loss which is of course ridiculous but practically speaking it is also ridiculous for AIB and EBS which are effectively State-owned, Bank of Ireland faces a challenging future). Taking all of this into account
 
So it may be the case that the Department of Finance (prop: Brian Lenihan, minister) may try to delay the publication of the accounts which remember are already four months out of date as they relate to the quarter ending 30th September, 2010. And remember also, the role of the DoF is not to change the accounts so arguably they should be generally published simultaneously with their delivery to the DoF. And even if the accounts are published, they are unlikely to show a loss because NAMA is unlikely to revalue tens of billions of euros of loans each quarter. But I think it will be perfectly reasonable to ask NAMA for a ballpark of the loss in value of the loans compared with their acquisition value (the answer should be €2bn +).

source:http://wp.me/pNlCf-11i

Has Bank of Ireland really been deceptive over bonus payments?

By Paul Clarke

Bank of Ireland has been paying bonuses. In fact, it may have been paying many millions of euros in bonuses since accepting state aid in 2008, much to the outrage of the Irish taxpayer.

But has the bank been actively hiding this fact, or has the government just been slow in chasing up the details?

Parliamentary questions now seems to be the place where details of Irish banks’ remuneration practices come to light. It is, after all, an easy way for politicians to score some points and create more scathing banker-bashing headlines.

Some new controversy has emerged over the fact that BoI may have been paying some performance-related bonuses since coming under the government bank guarantee scheme, despite telling the Department of Finance in December that nothing had been paid over the course of last year.

Joan Burton TD highlighted this fact during a December parliamentary question, and has since described the payments as “one further act of deceit” by BoI, while Brian Lenihan has assured us that an “urgent investigation” was underway.

But is all this just a matter of semantics? BoI hasn’t revealed any figures about bonus payments, but said in a response to the Department of Finance enquiries on 1 December that no performance-related bonuses were paid “with respect to the financial years to March 2009 and December 2009”.

However, it also added:

“A small number of people at middle management level received payments which reflected either guarantees which were agreed on their joining the Group or deferred payments where the historic performance criteria had been achieved and the payment was deferred over several years. For commercial reasons BoI do not disclose the amount of such payments. The bank advises that it had no legal discretion in these matters.”

In other words, performance related bonuses are not being paid, unless the bank already has contractual arrangements to do so, and it’s suggesting it isn’t necessary to divulge figures. What’s more, it’s made no attempt to see if it is legally bound to pay these, as AIB did over the now well-known deferred 2008 bonus payments for its capital markets division.

Undoubtedly, BoI has been evasive on this matter, having avoided producing any figures on bonus payments, despite the fact that all the other Irish institutions under the guarantee have, but you can hardly accuse it of active deception.

Instead, surely it’s the government’s responsibility to chase this matter up, considering the political sensitivity around banker bonuses in Ireland and the greater influence it now has on the institutions. By failing to do so, it gives yet more ammunition to the opposition parties and fans the flames of public outrage over banker bonuses.

Below is the table submitted to Brian Lenihan by Irish banks (BoI excepted) detailing their bonus payments over the last two years. Most have drastically scaled back both the sums paid out in bonuses and the number of people receiving them:

Irish-bonuses

source: http://news.efinancialcareers.ie/newsandviews_item/newsItemId-30419

MINISTER FOR Finance Brian Lenihan has started an investigation into millions of euro in undisclosed bonus payments paid to staff by Bank of Ireland since the Government’s bank guarantee scheme.

Last year the bank told the Government it had not paid any performance-related bonuses to staff since the guarantee in September 2008.

Following subsequent queries by Department of Finance officials, it has emerged the bank did not disclose millions it paid out as part of contractual bonuses, which also have a performance-related element.

Neither the bank nor the department would comment last night on the scale of the bonus payments or how many staff benefited until investigations are completed. However, one well-placed source said the figure would be at least several million euro.

Other banks covered by the guarantee scheme have paid out a total of almost €46 million in bonuses between 2008 and 2010.

Anglo Irish Bank was responsible for some €20 million in bonus payments in the last months of 2008. AIB also paid out about €20 million, the bulk of which went to overseas staff. The sums recorded for Bank of Ireland were nil.

The latest information on bonus payments has come to light following a parliamentary question by Labour’s finance spokeswoman Joan Burton TD.

She said yesterday that the bank’s failure to disclose the payments was an “act of deceit” and an “astonishing display of arrogance and contempt” for the Government.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said the bank’s chief executive had acknowledged the difficulties caused as a result of the misinformation and apologised unreservedly.

Mr Lenihan said he was undertaking an “urgent investigation” into bonus payments made since the guarantee scheme and of additional payments the banks may have intended making in the future.

The Minister said previous information given to his department that indicated that no performance-related bonuses were paid to staff was incorrect, as it did not take into account “contractual bonuses” which were performance related.

A spokesman for Bank of Ireland yesterday said there was never any intention on behalf of the bank to mislead the department.

He said some of these bonuses had not been classified as performance-related and were typically paid because of legal obligations or arrangements which predated the bank guarantee scheme.

Ms Burton, however, said it beggared belief that the bank did not have data on bonuses at their fingertips. “It is money from the taxpayer and a State guarantee that are keeping the Bank of Ireland afloat,” she said.

source :http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0117/1224287681930.html

Confusion reigns over AIB’s bonuses (Namawinelake)

Confusion reigns over AIB’s bonuses
namawinelake | December 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Categories: Irish economy, NAMA | URL: http://wp.me/pNlCf-Ss

Since the Guardian drew attention to the story last week, the nation has been gripped by the apparent brazenness of Allied Irish Banks (AIB) scheduling the payment of €40m in bonuses this week. Having followed the story casually for a few days and since the operation of NAMA is at a quiet phase just now where developer business plans are being hammered out that will lead to fireworks in the very near future with disposals/demolitions/developments/foreclosures, I have dug a little and must say that I am unclear with the position of the AIB bonuses. Having studied the background some questions suggest themselves:
(1) Have John Foy and the other 90 employees that took legal action over deferred bonuses from 2008 at AIB already been paid their deferred bonuses (estimated at €10m) or is that part of the €40m what was scheduled to be paid on Thursday? John Foy won his uncontested case at the High Court on 3rd November, 2010. Wouldn’t he have been paid already? Have the other 90 been paid? Have others that didn’t take legal action but were engaged on the same contracts with the same bonus provisions been paid?
(2) The Minister says that 2,869 AIB employees were paid €58.65 million in deferred bonuses this year and last year. Who were these employees? Were these the only bonuses paid? Does this €58.65 million include the estimated €10m over which John Foy and the other 90 staff who took legal action?
(3) What is the wording of AIB’s contracts? The bonuses are variously described as discretionary and contractual. Wouldn’t a contractual bonus be more properly  called “commission”? Shouldn’t the wording of the contracts provide for “supervening events” (to use the language in the Minister’s letter yesterday) like the group becoming insolvent as a reason for abandoning the payment of bonuses?
(4) How much expense has AIB incurred with defending the legal action by the 90 employees this year. The expense will comprise the legal fees of both AIB and those of the employees as the High Court has seemingly ordered AIB to pay all costs. In addition AIB was ordered to pay interest at 8% per annum on John Foy’s unpaid bonus and that presumably applies to the other deferred bonuses also. That would bring John Foy’s payment up from €160,000 to €188,000.
(5) The statement from AIB yesterday suggests gratitude that the Minister has now intervened. What were the three public interest directors on the AIB board doing up to now? How is it that last week the Minister was powerless to stop the €40m in bonuses being paid and the proposed 90% supertax on bank bonuses would only apply to future bonuses. Yet today he seemingly has the power? The AIB statement says “however the letter from the Minister conveys a decision by him to legislate which overtakes this obligation.” Retrospective legislating away personal rights? This is just downright confusing.
So you thought Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan’s letter to the board of AIB yesterday has put a stop to a €40m bonus payout scheduled for Thursday this week and that no bonuses will be paid to staff in the bank which is only capable of opening its doors this morning as a result of a soft-terms investment of the nation’s pension reserve fund and a commitment to future “investment” of €9.765bn? This entry examines bonuses paid by AIB since the introduction of the State guarantee in September 2008.
First of all, a timeline of the State’s provision of assistance to AIB
September 2008 – Guarantee on the liabilities of six Irish financial institutions (including AIB). The guarantee was given effect with the CREDIT INSTITUTIONS (FINANCIAL SUPPORT) ACT 2008 though it was a subsequent Statutory Instrument (SI 411 of 2008) that started to get to grips with bonuses for “directors and executives” as it required the submission of remuneration plans and presaged the establishment of Covered Institution Remuneration Oversight Committee (CIROC).
December 2008 – Department of Finance installs two public interest directors on the board of AIB – Dick Spring and Declan Collier.
February 2009 – CIROC publishes its report which addresses the remuneration (including bonuses) of “directors and senior executives”. Last week, Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan told the Dail “as the House will be aware, the legislation introduced on foot of the bank guarantee specifically prohibits the payment of any performance bonuses to senior bank executives.”  I must say that apart from the CIROC recommendations that really seem to be confined to board members, I cannot see an explicit banning of performance bonuses. Perhaps there is some Statutory Instrument with a relevant provision but I have not been able to locate it.
9th March, 2009 – enactment of the Investment of the National Pensions Reserve Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2009 which allowed the State to direct the NPRF to invest its funds into banks as required by the Minister for Finance.
12th May, 2009 – Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, directed the National Pension Reserve Fund to invest €3.5bn in 8% yielding preference shares in AIB. In May 2010, AIB gave 198,089,847 ordinary shares to the NPRF in lieu of a cash dividend, which equates to about 18.6% of AIB’s ordinary capital. In simple terms today, the State owns 18.6% of AIB plus has 3.5bn of preference shares. The recent PLAR plan issued by the Financial Regulator anticipates the State investing a further €9.765bn in the bank.
November 2009 – Department of Finance installs an additional public interest director, Dr Michael Somers, formerly of the NTMA. That brought to three, the number of public interest directors on the AIB. So you would have thought that AIB was more than capable itself of dealing with this matter or making representations to the Minister for legislative changes.
December 2010 – Financial Regulator releases report on remuneration practice and policies in Irish banks and concludes in damning terms that banks are failing to put in place practices to mitigate financial and market risks.
Next a timeline of bonus payments by AIB
2008 – Bonuses for non-board members are not separated out in the annual report. They will presumably be an inclusion in Personnel expenses (under Note 9 to the accounts administrative expenses).
2009 – According to AIB’s annual report “no bonuses were paid in AIB generally in 2009 in respect of 2008 performance. Bonuses were paid to staff in our Polish subsidiary BZWBK (which was not covered by the Irish Government’s Deposit Guarantee Scheme) and in AIB’s Channel Islands based business. Some bonus schemes were also triggered in the Capital Markets Division in respect of 2008 performance.These bonuses have not been paid in the Republic of Ireland but were paid to staff located outside of Ireland on foot of threatened or initiated legal challenges. On the basis of legal advice, we have made an accrual against the future payment of outstanding, deferred 2008 bonus amounts, the timing of which will be subject to the approval of the Board and the Department of Finance in the Republic of Ireland. Bonus schemes in relation to the Group Executive Committee, executives and managers across Group Supports, Operations & Technology,AIB Bank ROI and AIB Group (UK) plc were not renewed for the 2009 performance year. No bonuses will be paid in these areas or in Capital Markets in respect of 2009, however, a provision has been set aside in the 2009 financial statements to meet any legal obligations arising.”
2010 – The Irish Times reports that Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan “said in a response to a parliamentary question that some 2,869 AIB employees were paid €58.65 million in deferred bonuses this year and last year. Some €35.5 million was paid this year following legal action and a further €3.7 million was paid to staff in AIB Capital Markets in respect of deferred bonuses relating to work in 2006 and 2007. Some 62 executives shared €11.11 million, or an average of €179,000 each, for 2009, while 674 managers shared €30 million or an average of €44,000 each.”
Next a timeline of John Foy’s legal action
Who is John Foy? According to the Irish Times, he is “an AIB foreign exchange options trader” resident at “Newhaggard Lane, Trim, Co Meath” who joined AIB Capital Markets in 2005 on a basic salary then of €75,190 (his present salary does not appear to have been published). His Capital Markets division in AIB has been very profitable indeed with reported profits of “€585 million in 2008, €531 million in 2009 and €134 million in the first half of this year” and indeed €532m in 2007 and €589m in 2006 (pg 40/282 2008 Annual Report). He is one of 90 staff that took legal action in 2010 over unpaid bonuses for 2008. He is the public face of the 90 because his case was a test case and the ruling (not yet published) at the High Court on 3rd November, 2010 paved the way for the payment of not just his bonus but the bonuses of another 89 staff. The Independent report that “it is understood that Mr Foy no longer works for AIB. He first joined the bank in 2005, having graduated from UCD in 1995 with a commerce degree and a masters in business”
January 2009, John Foy’s line manager at AIB, Michael Cronin, writes to him to advise that he will receive a reported €160,000 as bonus for 2008 in the February 2009 payroll. He was later told payment was being deferred until further notice and then that payment was being deferred indefinitely.
April 2009 John Foy is reported to have claimed that the then head of AIB Capital Markets, Colm Doherty told staff that 2008 bonuses would be paid. Colm of course was subsequently promoted to be managing director of AIB. The hapless Colm was then “stepped down” in September 2010 being reportedly stunned at the revised and much increased capital requirements for that bank.
13th July, 2010 – application to the High Court (2010 3281 S) by John Foy – it is reported that 24 other staff issued proceedings in the High Court (which has a minimum value claim threshold of €38,000) and additionally, up to 65 staff issued proceedings in the Circuit Court. The Irish Times report that the aggregate value of the bonuses claimed in the courts to be less than €10m (average of less than €111,000). It is understood that John Foy himself was seeking €161,000 (sometimes reported as €160,000) . Law firm Byrne Wallace represented AIB. McDowell Purcell represented the 90 employees.
3rd November, 2010 – the Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan, enters a judgment in favour of John Foy as AIB did not contest the application. In addition to the claim for the bonus, John Foy is awarded interest of 8% per annum (which will apply for nearly two years) and his legal costs.
Has John Foy already been paid the bonus and interest and legal costs? Media reporting (for example here where it is stated with my emphasis “Mr Foy will still get his” and here “Mr Foy will be paid his bonus in spite of the intervention last night by Mr Lenihan”) suggests he hasn’t yet been paid the bonus and that the €40m that was penciled in for payment as bonuses on Thursday this week includes John’s €160,000 which might then mean that €10m of the €40m was in respect of the 90 staff that launched legal actions and whose position was upheld following John Foy’s test case.
I must say I have mixed feelings about the bonus. I think John Foy was correct in arguing that it wasn’t the Capital Markets division of AIB that contributed to the bank’s downfall – it was reckless property-based lending. And from what I can see John Foy did his job well and earned a lot of real money for his employer. A lot of others who were more responsible for the crisis still command colossal salaries (having given up another €14,000, the Taoiseach is still paid €214,000, Secretary General at the Department of Finance, Kevin Cardiff still gets paid €228,466, former INBS chief executive Michael Fingleton received a bonus of €1m for his performance in 2008 and former Financial Regulator Pat Neary was famously paid a €630,000 not-so-secret golden handshake after his ruinous tenure at the helm). So from his personal point of view I can see why John Foy would feel justified in pursuing his bonus – by all accounts he earned it and he wasn’t responsible for the mess at the bank. Of course the position of the majority is that AIB wouldn’t exist today without massive State support on soft terms and against a background of austerity measures that see the weakest and lowest-paid in society having to contribute to bailing out the banks (including AIB), it is scandalous that those same banks pay an individual bonus that is now some 10x the minimum wage (following its 12% reduction to €7.65 an hour last week for new employees). So the position here would be to have sympathy for the man himself but in the context of his employer’s position and the sacrifices by society in general to sustain AIB, paying such a bonus would be unjustified (though it may well be the case that it has in fact been already paid).

source http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/

Comment :

An excellent piece of work which prompts me again to ask the question what about the other financial institutions that are in receipt of taxpayers’ funds have they or are they paying bonus to any of their staff??

Can the minster now confirm ?

EOIN BURKE-KENNEDY and AOIFE CARR

AIB has decided not to pay some €40 million in backdated bonuses to staff following a letter from Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan.

The bank’s board met earlier this evening to consider Mr Lenihan’s letter which warned the bank that further State support would be conditional on the non-payment of bonuses awarded, no matter when they had been earned.

The minister’s letter to the board stated that without the State support which had been provided in a variety of forms, AIB could not have survived until now.

The bank had previously claimed it was under legal obligation to pay bonuses due to certain employees.

But in a statement this evening, the bank’s board said AIB had considered the minister’s letter and decided not to pay the bonus payments.

The executive chairman of AIB, Mr David Hodgkinson, said “The board of AIB very much welcomes the actions of the minister and is relieved to be in a position not to pay these bonuses.

“We are determined to position the bank to play a full role in the recovery and development of the Irish economy. In doing so, we are committed to treating our customers, staff, the taxpayer and the public in a fair and transparent manner,” he added.

Welcoming the decision, Mr Lenihan reiterated his “total confidence” in the executive chairman and the board of the bank.

“I appreciate that AIB was not in a position to put up a sworn defence in the High Court proceedings and that the executive chairman and the board have acted with complete propriety in this matter.”

Legislation implementing the proposal would be discussed by Government tomorrow, Mr Lenihan said.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said earlier the Government was looking at all options available to prevent the payment the bonuses to AIB staff.

The High Court last month ordered that AIB would have to pay backdated bonuses to some staff after the bank failed to enter a defence against a case taken by trader John Foy.

However, Opposition politicians yesterday said the Government should stop the payments and should sack the board of AIB.

Mr Cowen said the Government was “looking at everything” to see if it could prevent the payments.

“We’ll have a Cabinet meeting tomorrow and see, as a result of inquiries further over the weekend, whether anything further can be done over and above what we’ve clearly pointed out, which is, from a personal point of view, from a Government point of view, we’d rather these weren’t taken up,” he told reporters at a meeting of the British-Irish Council in Douglas in the Isle of Man.

Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan said the payments were not “appropriate” under the current circumstances. “We’ll have to look at whatever different ways we can to see if that can be changed,” he said.

Minister for Health Mary Harney said it was a “pity” AIB had not contested the case taken by Mr Foy to force it to pay €40 million in backdated bonuses.

Speaking in Dundalk, Ms Harney said it would have been better if the case were fought but she understood “different legal advice” had been given to the banks.

“But clearly the bank’s ability pay has to be very much in doubt given the state of the bank and the huge amount of capital put in by the exchequer, on behalf of the taxpayer,” she said.

“At a time when the exchequer is putting huge amounts of money into AIB, people need to be mindful of their responsibilities – that applies to management, those on the board and the government.”

Ms Harney said she hoped the Government would win the Dáil vote on the EU-IMF bailout on Wednesday.

“Member of the government will support it and I believe we have the support of independents. It is unfortunate that the opposition parties are not going to give their support,” she said.

“This arrangement is essential for the functioning of this country, last year we had to borrow €19 billion more than we raised in taxes to run the country, to pay doctors, nurses and teachers. We don’t have the capacity to raise that money, we do need outside help,” she said.

“It was regrettable that we had to get that help but we’ve got it now and we have a programme for the next four years and I believe there’s a responsibility on everyone elected to the Dáil to take that responsibility seriously and to support that vote when it comes before the Dáil on Wednesday.”

Last week, Mr Lenihan announced that 90 per cent of bonuses paid to bankers would be recouped by the exchequer in tax after it emerged AIB staff would share tens of millions in bonuses for 2008.

Mr Hodgkinson had said the payments reflected AIB’s past and was “not the way we intend to conduct ourselves in future”.

Mr Lenihan said in a response to a parliamentary question that some 2,869 AIB employees were paid €58.65 million in deferred bonuses this year and last year.

Some €35.5 million was paid this year following legal action and a further €3.7 million was paid to staff in AIB Capital Markets in respect of deferred bonuses relating to work in 2006 and 2007. Some 62 executives shared €11.11 million, or an average of €179,000 each, for 2009, while 674 managers shared €30 million or an average of €44,000 each.

source :http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/1213/breaking35.html

Comment :

This latest news is most welcome but it begs the question are there bonus payments been paid to any other bailed out bank employees for example the top guys in Bank of Ireland???

Can the minster now confirm that there are no such payments of any sort  going to any of the bailed out bankers ????

Shakedown as TDs escape cuts

Shakedown: Low-paid and the poor hit hardest as TDs escape cuts

08/12/2010THE low-paid and the poor have been hardest hit by a savage budget that spared no one except the TDs needed to vote it through. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan chopped social welfare payments and hiked taxes — but decided TDs on €92,672 a year did not warrant a further pay cut.

Instead, he targeted families, middle-income earners, the low-paid and the poor as he introduced a €6 billion combination of tax hikes and spending cuts.

At a press conference last night, Mr Lenihan rejected suggestions that he should feel ashamed, with both he and the Taoiseach insisting they were “proud” of their work.

The main welfare payments were cut by €8 per week, with the changes to take effect from January. Mr Lenihan left the standard old-age pensions untouched for fear of a backbench revolt, but cut the widow’s pension, the invalidity pension, the blind person’s pension and carer’s benefit.

He drastically reduced the value of tax bands and credits, amended the PRSI system, and replaced the income and health levies with a new “universal social charge” imposed on anyone earning more than €4,004 a year.

The effects of the changes will bring another 132,000 low-paid people into the tax net and impose hikes running into thousands of euro on middle-income earners.

The changes mean:

* A single PAYE worker earning just €15,000 will now lose €399 a year under the universal social charge.

* A single PAYE worker earning €25,000 will pay an additional €989 a year in taxes and charges.

* A family with two children and one income of €55,000 a year will pay an additional €1,519 in taxes and levies.

Families were hit at every turn because, as well as seeing their taxes hiked, child benefit payments were cut and school transport charges increased.

Child benefit will be reduced by €10 per month for the first and second child and €20 for the third child.

Health premiums are also set to soar as a result of the Government decision to charge more for private beds in public hospitals.

Petrol rose by 4c per litre from midnight while diesel rose 2c. In a bid to “stimulate” the property market, Mr Lenihan slashed stamp duty from 7% to 1% but it will now apply to first-time buyers.

He announced further cuts to ministerial pay in a bid to alleviate public anger, with the Taoiseach’s salary falling by €14,000 to €214,000 a year and ministers’ salaries falling by €10,000 to €181,000.

But they represented cuts of just 5% and 6% respectively, at a time when the Government is proposing to slash the minimum wage by 12% from €8.65 to €7.65 an hour.

Mr Lenihan also introduced a cap of €250,000 on public sector pay but it won’t apply to existing judges.

He also left TDs’ pay untouched, but said increases to PRSI would ensure effective cuts for high earners in the public service. He also said public service pensions above €12,000 a year would be cut by an average of 4%.

Mr Lenihan defended the EU/IMF rescue plan but admitted that part of the reason for the severe correction was the rising cost of interest repayments due to the bailout of the banks.

He insisted the budget was the “first step” in ensuring Ireland got back on its feet, adding: “It is a substantial down-payment on the journey back to economic health.”

But Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan said it was a “puppet budget from a puppet Government” that offered “no hope, no jobs and no future”.

Labour social protection spokeswoman Roisin Shortall said the “cruel” welfare cuts would “cause enormous hardship and drive yet more poor families to the St Vincent de Paul”.

Campaigners also criticised the budget, with Barnados chief executive Fergus Finlay saying it would condemn thousands to the breadline.

“I never thought I would see the day when an Irish government legislated to make families hungry, but it happened (yesterday).

“The cuts in social welfare and in child benefit will force thousands of families to make choices no family should ever have to make,” said Mr Finlay.

Protests took place outside the Dáil last night as Government motions to pass key budget measures were voted upon.

But the Government’s task in passing these measures became considerably easier after Independent TD Joe Behan confirmed he would support the budget, thus widening its majority to four.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach insisted he would lead Fianna Fáil into the general election. It came as backbenchers continued to express unease about the party’s prospects should Mr Cowen stay in place.

source http://budget.irishexaminer.com/analysis/shakedown-low-paid-and-the-poor-hit-hardest-as-tds-escape-cuts-138761.html

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