Viewed from as far as Buenos Aires this evening, I am sure that many taxpayers are greatly relieved that the Taoiseach confirmed to Dáil Éireann on 27th September that he ‘sees no good reason’ for breaching the €500,000 salary cap on bank chief executives’ remuneration in response to prolonged lobbying by AIB and others over many months.
All stakeholders in our society have had to make the most profound sacrifices due to the venality of bankers’ and their boards’ of directors in the interests of economic survival, recovery and vitality. A Government decision to cave into the banking lobby on this issue would therefore have had the most profound adverse consequences which would have found unequivocal expression in the forthcoming presidential election and beyond it.
High salaries did not enhance the standard of corporate governance, providence and prudence in the Irish banks’ prior to their collapse and it would be the utmost folly to consider that the resumption of salary deals to any elite that are utterly extravagant in the context of our national circumstances would deliver reform. The banks and their elite fellow travellers must restore trust with society before they attempt to indulge fanciful remuneration whims.
It would also be interesting for taxpayer’s to be informed, in clear an unambiguous terms, how much the State is paying consultants ‘and professional advisors’ to rehabilitate AIB, now State owned.