Time for bailout bankers to cough up cash
As the clamour for former top AIB bankers to repay part of their “super pensions” heats up, attention has shifted to the other banks which have received State bailouts.
Bank of Ireland declined to comment but it’s understood it has no intention of pursuing former executives to forgo part of their pension payments.
The obvious figure of Brian Goggin (right), who was chief executive when the banking crisis hit in 2008, springs to mind. He left the bank in early 2009 and Bank of Ireland’s accounts for that year show that he is entitled to an annual pension payment on retirement of €650,000.
The case for former AIB bankers to pony up some of their pension nest eggs may be stronger given that the bank has cost the State almost €21 billion.
The State has pumped €4.8 billion into Bank of Ireland but the bank has returned more than €2 billion to the Government buying back share-purchase warrants, recapitalisation fees, preference share coupons and guarantee fees.
In comparison, the chances of AIB coming close to this kind of return any time soon are pretty slim.
Action by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, the former Anglo Irish Bank, which is winding down Irish Nationwide, has already led to the bankruptcy of former chairman Seán FitzPatrick, while former chief executive David Drumm is being pursued by the bank in the US.
Former Irish Nationwide chief Michael Fingleton famously received a pension pot of €27 million from the building society and is the subject of investigations.
Permanent TSB, which has received €4 billion from the State, has said it is in a different position to the other banks as its former executives don’t have the same large pensions as their former peers.
While all the focus is on pensions, there is an obvious case to pursue former bankers for the multimillion-euro bonuses they received during the property bubble, particularly when the loans provided at that time are now inflicting the greatest strain on the public funds.
Irish Water may trickle to Bord na Móna
Bord na Móna may have lost out in the race to run the State’s new utility, Irish Water, but it could still end up playing a role in the venture.
Over two years ago, Bord na Móna, which owns large tracts of the State’s peatlands, launched a plan that involves bringing water from the Shannon basin, from a point to the north of Lough Derg, to a reservoir in Garryhinch, west of Portarlington, from where it could be pumped eastwards.
The water would be used to serve nine counties in the east and midlands, including Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Wicklow, where it is recognised that supplies are under pressure, to the point where shortages are likely in the medium term.
Earlier this week, John Mullins, chief executive of Bord Gáis, the State group the Government chose to establish Irish Water, told an Oireachtas committee that a plan such as this would be necessary to tackle the supply problems that the east and midlands are likely to face.