Former AIB staffer Niall Murphy was first up and quickly set the tone for the
day: “You’re smiling now,” he told AIB’s executive chairman David Hodgkinson,
“but I don’t think you’ll be smiling when I’ve finished.”
Mr Murphy swiftly launched into a 10-minute tirade against the bank’s demise
and the “unforgivable” plans to “squander” billions from the National Pension
Reserve Fund on the latest bailout.
The theme was quickly picked up by People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd
Barrett, who called on shareholders to reject the bailout they were gathered
together to vote on.
How exactly private shareholders, who own less than 7pc of the bank, were
supposed to vote down a proposal supported by the Government, which owns the
other 93pc, was anybody’s guess, but Mr Boyd Barrett drew applause all the
This was a room were reason played second-fiddle to emotion, as one
shareholder summed up the mood by dubbing AIB “Arrogant Incompetent
And so it continued, as shareholder after
shareholder took up arms to air grievances old and new, all of them savouring
their moment in the sun, all of them apparently unmoved by Mr Hodgkinson’s claim
that the bank was changing and would be a force for good in Ireland.
It took Independent TD Shane Ross to
point out the obvious: “This motion (on accepting the bailout) is a stitch-up
… this is a theatre.”
The board went into the EGM with enough votes from the Government to win the
bailout motion, the deal was done long before shareholders were asked for their
With zero prospect of changing the outcome of the bailout vote, the
shareholders sought their victories elsewhere.
Mr Hodgkinson came under fire for his “absurd” €500,000-a-year pay packet,
and for his efforts to be allowed to breach the banking pay cap to win AIB a new
chief executive of international pedigree.
The bonfire of the bosses expanded to include former AIB chiefs Eugene Sheehy
and Colm Doherty, with shareholders demanding that Mr Hodgkinson write to the
duo and ask them to “share the pain” by returning some of their multi-million
Mr Hodgkinson and a handful of his fellow directors were also lashed for
failing to buy any shares in the bank, a charge he deftly side-stepped by
claiming he had been in possession of market sensitive information since he
joined AIB and was therefore prohibited from buying shares.
It certainly sounded better than admitting the obvious — no one in their
right mind would have forked out money for AIB shares after the nationalisation
bell tolled in December.
AIB’s “fire sale” of stockbroker Goodbody’s for just €24m also came in for
some shareholder attention, with Breda O’Byrne reacting with fury to the
“unbelievable” admission that the bank has indemnified purchasers Fexco for
“What country would put up with that?” she demanded. “It’s time for us to
And revolt they did, with the overwhelming majority of ordinary shareholders
voting down the bailout. It was still passed by a measure of well over 90pc.
This is what democracy looks like in Ireland to day .The big boys have everything stitched up with
the help of the vested interests in the state media and the unions ,we the
ordinary citizens only have the illusion that we are free .Having robbed us of
our shares in the Banks, plundered our pensions ,they are now forcing us to pay
a tax (levy) on the overprices houses we were sold and in a few
weeks we will get another call to pay for the very water we are drinking .This
is the work of politicians who promised change .Most people who went to the AIB
AGM voted the government into office. All we got was more of the same ,jobs for
the well connected like Sticky Dick
Spring who is been well looked after with his state pensions and his well paid
gig on the AIB board “looking after the taxpayers interests “ has never been so
profitable. I suppose name calling will change
nothing! How many of the disgruntled shareholders came out to demonstrate
against the closures of local A&E services, how many will vote the same
codgers back into office again in the next election? Until we have a total change
of the cronyism, and of the self promoting political system, where the likes of
Spring and his band of champagne lefties in the labour party are exposed for
the sell-outs there are, where the double talk of the “vote for change” Fine
Gael is finally exposed maybe then the people of Ireland will rise up from
their collective knees and challenge these political leaches .Maybe then we
might as a people come together in the spirit of our Celtic heritage and build
a nation that we can truly be proud of. But until the people who go to AGM’s
and the people who go to demonstrations in support of local health services and
local schools, the people who demonstrate against social welfare cuts come together,
we are going to be easy pickings for the conmen who have made a living on the
backs of the ordinary people of Ireland .We must unite and stop this mad march
into the Austerity asylum that is been created for us by the IMF and our own political
gangsters in the Dail.
Ireland wake up and unite against the austerity asylum cheerleaders
in the Dail