While Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey welcomed the fact that AIB’s Mr. Boucher had decided not to exercise the option of retiring at the age of 55, effectively giving up his controversial €1.5m pension fund top-up, Dr. Twomey pointed out that it shows how incredibly weak the Taoiseach and the government are in taking the banks on.
“It was the public’s anger that forced Mr. Boucher to give up his pension top-up. All the Taoiseach did was to make it clear that he could do nothing about the matter legally. At the moment, we see that the banks are running riot. They, rather than the Government, are in control of the restructuring of the banking system. I am calling on the Taoiseach or at least the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan to show moral backbone in the taking on of senior officials in the banking sector.”
Dr. Twomey added, “In the next budget, the Government had already planned to cut expenditure by €1 billion. But now that Eurostat has released figures stating that Ireland had the biggest government deficit in the EU last year, at 14.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), further cuts will need to be made. The 4 billion euro given to Anglo Irish Bank is no longer regarded as a financial investment by the EU and must be recorded as capital spending. This means that more money has to come out of the tax payer’s pocket again. As the government consistently goes for the easy option, it will no doubt want to cut the pay of public sector workers or cut payments to social welfare recipients. If we allow this carry-on by a weak government and by the banks to continue in the meantime, and if the people believe the banks are getting away with murder, there will be no public appetite for further cuts in Government spending. In fact, public confidence in the economy and people’s security are hit even more, when the government consistently shows that its figures are wrong and another ‘adjustment’ has to be made.”
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