Minister signals no return to banker bonuses

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has given a strong signal he is not willing to allow a return to bonuses in banks bailed out by the State.

Speaking to reporters in Dublin,Mr Donohoe said he is “well aware of the public’s continued outrage at the behaviour of our banking sector in the past” but that he will make his mind up in the coming weeks.

Mr Donohoe received a report from the outgoing governor of the Central Bank, Philip Lane, which argued that consideration should be given to allowing flexibility beyond the current cap of €500,000 a year.

“I am well aware of the public’s continued outrage at the behaviour of our banking sector in the past. We have seen some important changes. I have put in place an independent board to look at how we further implement changes in relation to culture in our banks in the coming years,” he said.

“I am considering the report from the governor of the Central Bank and when I reach a final view, I will be informing the Cabinet and the Oireachtas. But I have just received the report last Friday, so I expect I will deal with this in the next few weeks.”

Mr Donohoe said: “I have to treat carefully reports which come from the Central Bank. I will be giving it consideration but in the context of my acknowledgement of public anger about issues of the past. But public anger about issues in our recent present too, like the ongoing challenge in bringing to a close the issue in relation to the tracker mortgages.”

Meanwhile, Mr Donohoe said the Government can make a change to the appointment of a Central Bank governor in the case of very grave misconduct.

He said he would not make any comment on an investigation in New Zealand into the conduct of incoming governor Gabriel Makhlouf, the incoming governor.

Mr Makhlouf’s actions and statements about the causes behind unauthorised leaking of the New Zealand government’s national budget are the focus of an investigation by the country’s State Services Commission.

The piece of legislation which governs that appointment opens up the option to government to make a change in a case of very, very grave misconduct.

"That is the legislative case and that is the law as it stands,” said Mr Donohoe.

“I have already indicated the new governor of the Central Bank has been appointed under law.”

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