News & Media

Bankers pay caps must not be lifted

4 June 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Labour Party Leader, Brendan Howlin TD, has described the obvious desire of the Government and Minister Donohoe to lift the pay cap in the banks as an issue of ‘totemic’ importance that Labour will oppose.

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, has just received a report on the issue and judging by the way the Secretary General of his Department has discussed the issue, he is clearly looking for a way to lift the cap.

Deputy Howlin said:

“This is about what kind of banks we want and what kind of economy and society we want. People paid the price for a bonus-led speculative banking culture once already. That Minister Donohoe wants to go down that road again suggests that Fine Gael has learned no lessons from the 2008 economic collapse.

“This is a totemic issue for the country and the Labour Party. We want banks that serve the domestic economy, that support indigenous business and that provide finance for sensible property development. We will oppose any return to the speculative culture among senior bankers that went a considerable way to creating our economic crash. The comparison of senior pay with other finance houses is to miss the point. We do not want our domestic banks involved in speculative international finance or hedge funds activity. The existing cap of half a million is more than enough to recruit the kind of people we want to focus on bread-and-butter banking to serve society.

“This is not a decision that Labour will support in any circumstances. If the Government proceeds, we believe it will be further evidence that Fine Gael cannot be trusted with the management of an economy that serves the Irish people.”