Call for Lenihan 'action' on €1m bonus


The Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan should state "clearly" what action he intends to take in relation to the failure by the former chief executive of Irish Nationwide, Michael Fingleton to repay a €1 million bonus to the building society, the Labour Party has demanded.

Mr Fingleton's failure to repay the €1 million bonus, five months after undertaking to do so, will anger the taxpayer, the party's finance spokesperson Joan Burton claimed today.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Ms Burton described the bonus payment to Mr. Fingleton as "an outrage" and said it "should never have happened."

It emerged in March that Mr Fingleton had been paid the €1 million bonus just weeks after the Government introduced its €440 billion guarantee scheme to protect the banking sector.

Today's edition of The Irish Times revealed that Irish Nationwide had not yet been successful in recovering the money despite repeated efforts by the building society to recover the money.

"When the disclosure of the payment emerged earlier this year, it was public and media pressure, rather than any action on the part of the government, that shamed Mr. Fingleton into promising to repay the bonus," Ms Burton claimed.

"Despite the promises made by government ministers, there has been little real regime change and little change of attitude in most of the financial institutions who have benefited from the bank guarantee scheme.

"When the taxpayers are again being asked to take an enormous Nama gamble to save the banks and the property speculators, there is an obligation on Minister Lenihan to state clearly what action he intends to take in regard to Mr. Fingleton's failure to repay the bonus", she concluded.