Former department chief has earned €500k from BoI

The man who was secretary general of the Department of Finance at the height of the boom has since earned almost €500,000 from an institution saved by the controversial bank guarantee.

Former department chief has earned €500k from BoI

Tom Considine, who held the role between 2002 and 2006, revealed the figure and the fact he is also in receipt of a €118,000 pension at a bank inquiry grilling yesterday.

Speaking during the cross-party group’s latest meetings on how the economic crash failed to be stopped, the senior Celtic Tiger era official confirmed he has received almost €500,000 since being appointed as a public interest Bank of Ireland director in 2009.

The former secretary general told Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan he was initially reluctant to take up the role when asked by his department replacement David Doyle in late 2008, before then-finance minister Brian Lenihan took the phone and specifically asked Mr Considine to accept the offer.

Between 2009 and 2014, the public interest position has seen Mr Considine earn almost €500,000 from Bank of Ireland, including a base €63,000 annual salary and additional fees from chairing groups which saw his income rise to €79,000 in 2009, €90,000 in 2010, €96,000 in 2011 and €98,000 last year.

When asked by Labour senator Susan O Keeffe if he “considered” rejecting the money as he is already in receipt of a €118,000 a year pension, or if Mr Lenihan had asked him to “waive” the payment in light of the wider circumstances, Mr Considine – who also joined Davy Stockbrokers as a non-executive director in 2007 – said “no”.

The financial revelations came as Mr Considine admitted the “soft landing” idea emerged during his time as Department of Finance secretary general, that internal department concerns of a deeper crash were ignored and that the then government’s tax policies “got it wrong” and contributed to the crash.

The senior official told Socialist TD Joe Higgins that during his tenure the widely held view was “there were sufficient buffers to cater for a likely shock”, but in reality the country needed “twice as much as we had”.

Mr Considine said there were concerns within the Department of Finance which contradicted the wider view, but said they were ignored as “if you start in year three warning there’s going to be a disaster by year eight you will have lost credibility”.

He also accepted the government’s 2002-2006 tax policies “weren’t successful” as they contributed to an overheating economy, but added: “Advisors are there to advise; politicians are there to make the decisions.”

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