Donegal Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty has hit out at plans to lift the pay restrictions on senior bankers at bailed-out banks.
The Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe proposes to allow bonuses for bankers of up to €20,000 to be reinstated and the pay cap of €500,000 lifted at the three surviving banks, AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB.
He also plans to allow banks to provide executives with non-pay benefits, like private health insurance and childcare.
The current limits on bankers’ pay were brought in as a restriction on bankers who were in action during the financial crash and had to be bailed out, at a cost to date for the Irish taxpayer of €45.7bn.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD said the ‘reward’ for top bankers is a kick in the teeth for struggling workers and families.
Teachta Doherty said: “As households continue to struggle with the cost of living, reports that the Minister for Finance plans to lift pay restriction for senior bankers is a kick in the teeth for hard-pressed families.
“These restrictions were put in place as a result of the reckless actions of senior bankers which led to the financial crisis – bankers who prioritised their own pay above the needs of consumers and society.
“Since then, we have witnessed the tracker mortgage scandal, with €270 million in fines meted out to banks for the harm they inflicted on their customers.
“This year alone, AIB and Bank of Ireland were fined over €197 million for regulatory breaches and actions that led to families losing their homes.
“Harm was meted out even during the Tracker Mortgage Examination.
“To date not one banker has been held to account for the untold damage and suffering that was inflicted on families and individuals.
“Despite all of this, it is reported that the Minister’s parting gift to the banking industry is to lift pay restrictions on senior bankers.
“What message does that send as the dust barely settles on the record fines handed out to the banks? Or as families still deal with the impact of the harm they endured under them?
“It is a message of reward, tone deaf to the very recent history of banking scandal, malpractice and harm.
“Where are the Minister’s priorities?
“At a time when households are struggling to pay the bills and feed their families, how can anyone conclude that half a million euros per year is not enough?
“The Government have spent the past year warning that pay rises for middle and low-income workers could make inflation worse.
“Yet when it comes to the pay of senior bankers, the same rules don’t apply.
“With the taxpayer yet to recover the more than €29 billion that was pumped into AIB, Bank of Ireland and PTSB during the financial crisis, and in the aftermath of the tracker mortgage scandal for which no individual has been held to account, now is not the time to lift the cap on senior bankers’ pay.”