My intereview on Morning Ireland on Friday (here as a podcast) has generated more emails and random stoppings in the street (every single on positive) than any other comment or public utterance I have made over the last 4 years. People are (barely) able to comprehend €500,000, the salary range now going rate for running a debt collection agency , sorry BANK, called IBRC (the unholy zombiestein that is the forced marriage of anglo and inbs). Indeed, it seems that 500k may not be enough – in what can only be described as a deliberate attempt to enrage people further the Deartment of Finance have sanctioned a 500k plus salary for a chief risk officer for Anglo. Im sure the man in question is wonderful but as anglo is a glorified debt collection agency what it needs a highpowered CRO is a bit of a mystery. Anyhow this brings to 7 the number of people in Anglo who earn more than 500k. And this for a bank that exists only on the drip of interest earned on the wretched promissory notes. A nice little earner . But, I shouldnt pick on Anglo as it is apparently an easy target says its CEO (one of the 7 moral dwarves). It has gotten so bad that the FT, hardly a bastion of marxist rhetoric, has called shameful the salary issue in the broken, borked, bust, bankrupt (financially and morally) Irish banks
There is also the ongoing sore of bank pensions on which the Dail voted on wednesday. Its hard to take seriously any FF sanctimony on banks, but Mattie McGrath is a solid and coherent performer who at least now is saying sensible things. He put a motion to the Dail . The motion was all very mom and apple pie.
The following motion was moved by Deputy Mattie McGrath on Tuesday, 6 November 2012:
That Dáil Éireann: in view of the Government’s:
— exhortations to Irish citizens to embrace austerity;
— decision to raid ordinary citizens’ pension funds;
— threat to end tax relief on ordinary citizens’ pension contributions in the forthcoming budget; and
— recent changes to the qualifying conditions for the contributory state pension;
calls on the Government to end the current system of paying grossly over generous pensions and massive lump sums on retirement to office holders such as Cabinet Ministers, Taoisigh, TDs, Senators, senior public servants, State regulators including the Financial Regulator, members of the Judiciary and the CEOs of semi-State bodies and State-funded banks.
It was voted on and of course was defeated. Irish parliamentarians have their consciences and backbones removed on taking the whip, and never defy it. Those that voted for and against can be found here : http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2012110700059?opendocument and their contact details should you be so minded here : http://www.oireachtas.ie/ViewDoc.asp?DocId=-1&CatID=138
We are in an emergency – a large part of governing is to do so with the active consent of the people. A gesture, such as a legislative cap of €250k in total package (wages, allowances and pension contributon) from the state would save very little money but it would salve anger, show that the L’Oreal brigade were not in fact immune, and would demonstrate solidarity. Will any government TD propose that? If it was proposed by an opposition member would any vote for it against the wishes of the government? Dont bet on it. That would require backbone, something found in Chordates. But not in TD’s..