Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath has welcomed the fact that AIB has finally written to former directors of the bank asking them to voluntarily forego some of their extraordinarily generous pensions and has called on the other State supported banks to do likewise.

Deputy McGrath was responding to an article on The Financial Times online today in which AIB CEO David Duffy confirmed the bank has begun to issue letters to former directors.

Deputy McGrath stated, “I welcome the fact that AIB has finally fulfilled the commitment given at the bank’s AGM last June to write to former directors asking them to waive some of their pension entitlements. It is a pity this move had to be forced on the bank following the disclosure by the current CEO David Duffy to me at the Oireachtas Finance Committee meeting last week that the beneficiaries of the €1.1 billion bailout of the AIB Defined Benefit Pension Scheme include former CEO Eugene Sheehy, who apparently enjoys a pension of over €500,000 per annum.

“I would like to know exactly what former directors AIB has written to. The business model pursued by AIB, with the full approval of its directors, over many years leading up to the financial crisis directly contributed to the need for a €20 billion taxpayer bailout. All directors who served over this period of time should be asked to forego some of their pensions.

“I believe that the other State supported banks – Bank of Ireland, IBRC and Permanent TSB – should follow AIB’s lead and ask their former directors to forego some of the pension entitlements they enjoy. The response from government has been extremely weak on this issue and there seems to be no appetite to examine ways of forcing former top bankers to take reduced pension benefits. I very much hope that the former AIB directors will respond generously to the request by the bank and I would call on the other banks to swiftly follow-up on this issue by making a similar approach to their former directors.”