Wealthy bankers 'led us by the nose into recession' and don't deserve higher pay, Newstalk Breakfast presenter Ciara Kelly has said.
In the wake of the financial crash, tight restrictions were placed on bankers’ pay and bonuses; however, over a decade on, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will today bring a report to Cabinet which recommends the regulations be relaxed.
“I know what the justification is: ‘Oh, you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’,” Ciara said.
“Except for this - in the financial crash, we didn’t have a cap on bankers’ pay; we didn’t have a cap on bonuses and the bankers we had did not serve us well.
“We ended up in a situation where loose credit and poor regulation led us by the nose into a situation where we had billions added to our national debt.”
Should the cap on bankers pay be removed? Ciara and Shane discuss as the Cabinet are expected to review the unwinding of restrictions on the benefits to bankers @NTBreakfast pic.twitter.com/FyiH75aeEF
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) November 29, 2022
The banking industry has argued that increasing pay will allow them to recruit the best talent internationally but Ciara has her doubts.
“Here’s the thing, we did pay them lots of money, we didn’t get value for money and if I believed we would get value for money, maybe I’d change my mind," she said.
“I am not convinced remotely that paying them through the nose gets us anywhere and I agree with opposition politicians - they’re not always wrong.”
Her co-presenter Shane Coleman took a more relaxed view to the proposal.
“I have a new rule when it comes to politics, if I hear TDs - particularly opposition TDs jumping up and down - saying, ‘This is a kick in the teeth to all hard-working people’, I kind of tend to take the opposite view,” he said.
“Because I just think it’s the politics of can’t, it’s the politics of hypocrisy, it’s the politics of populism.
“Look, wages and salaries in the financial services sector, I think, are indecent, I think they’re outrageous, I think they’re unjustifiable but that’s the world we live in and that’s the world banks have to operate in.
“A lot of people I went to College work in the City in London and they earn huge, huge salaries; I don’t think personally it’s justifiable but that is the reality of the world we live in.”
Main image: Ciara Kelly.