Seen & Heard


Bankers’ pensions

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said he was powerless to rein in the pay and pensions of some of Ireland’s most senior bankers, the Sunday Independent reported.

This is despite the revelation that AIB used some of the €1.1 billion it got from the State to fund the estimated €529,000 the former AIB chief executive Eugene Sheehy is getting each year from his AIB pension.

The Minister was under pressure from Cabinet colleagues and members of the Opposition in relation to the issue, according to the newspaper. Mr Noonan said he was not legally empowered to do anything about the pensions.

“There are some historic salaries above the ceilings, but they are a matter of contract and I wasn’t legally empowered to reduce them and they are very few at this stage,” he said.

Mr Sheehy’s successor, Colm Doherty, is to receive a pension of €300,000 per year when he turns 65, according to the newspaper.

Top manager betting on us

The top US investment manager, Michael Hassenstab, continues to bet on Ireland’s recovery, according to the Sunday Business Post. Funds he controls now hold more than 10 per cent of Ireland’s debts to private lenders.

Recent returns by the Franklin Templeton funds show they now hold €8.5 billion of Irish government bonds. Sources in Dublin believe he has increased this holding to close to €10 billion, according to the newspaper.

Comcast to back Ganley

US cable giant Comcast is preparing to back a legal action by Galway businessman Declan Ganley in the case where he is suing the State, Denis O’Brien, and Michael Lowry, in relation to the 1995 mobile phone licence competition, according to the Sunday Times.

The Supreme Court recently gave its reasons for allowing the case go ahead, along with a similar case being taken by Persona against the State in relation to the same issue.

Persona is now owned by Irish businessmen Tony Boyle and Michael McGinley. The paper said Comcast did not respond to requests for a comment and Mr Ganley declined to comment.

Banks have to forgive

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has warned banks that he will introduce new law if they do not forgive the debts of distressed homeowners under the new personal insolvency legislation, according to the Sunday Times.

Finance to find €360m

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will have to find an additional €360 million in cuts or new taxes in the upcoming budget to replace lost revenue from the bank guarantee, according to the Sunday Business Post.The guarantee is to be withdrawn next year, the Department of Finance confirmed to the newspaper.

Also the Department of Education is facing an escalation of costs as the bill for teacher retirements and associated new jobs has far exceeded estimates.