Lifting of restrictions on bankers' bonuses 'really twisted', say Sinn Féin

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath suggested that some nurses and healthcare workers are still waiting to receive the promised pandemic recognition payment
Lifting of restrictions on bankers' bonuses 'really twisted', say Sinn Féin

Mary Lou McDonald told the Taoiseach: "Don't hide behind ordinary bank clerks in a bid to defend the indefensible." File photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A move to restore bonuses of up to €20,000 to top bankers has been described as "really twisted" in the Dáil.

The Cabinet has signed off on measures contained in the Report of the Retail Banking Review (Review) which include an easing of restrictions on pay and bonuses for employees of institutions that were bailed out by the Irish taxpayer during the financial crisis.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the decision to restore bonuses was "straight out of the Fine Gael playbook - delivering for those in high places while ordinary people struggle to make ends meet."

She told the Dáil that the measures will pave the way for bumper pay for senior executives.

"This would be a bad call at any time Taoiseach, but there's something really twisted about allowing big pay hikes for wealthy bankers while workers and families endure an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis."

Responding, Micheál Martin said the review of the retail banking sector contains 34 recommendations, adding that the report is "worth reading" and should be looked at in its entirety.

He said that the restrictions on pay and conditions are now causing real difficulties in the recruitment and retention of ordinary banking workers, which Mr Martin said Sinn Féin is ignoring.

However, pointing to the fact that it has also been suggested that the €500,000 pay cap may be lifted in the future, Ms McDonald told the Taoiseach: 

Don't hide behind ordinary bank clerks in a bid to defend the indefensible.

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath suggested that some nurses and healthcare workers are still waiting to receive the promised pandemic recognition payment, but yet at a "stroke of a pen" the Government can sign off on bonuses for bankers.

Mr Martin said ordinary workers at all levels would receive enhanced payments under the measures and not only those at the top level.

"I don't know why you would be against workers in the banks. The union representing the workers is very clear that this is something that they welcome on behalf of the 20,000 workers that they represent," Mr Martin told the Dáil.

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