LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ireland’s plan to lift a cap on bankers’ bonuses looks ill-timed. On Tuesday, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said Dublin will lift a 500,000 euro crisis-era cap on annual executive salaries and allow bonuses of up to 20,000 euros for bank workers. Limits on pay were introduced after 2008 when Irish taxpayers bailed out the country’s largest lenders. However, Irish bank bosses have long argued salary constraints made it difficult to retain top talent.
Dublin’s centre-right government may reckon it has timed the change well. Ireland has experienced a banking exodus in recent years, with Belgian lender KBC (KBC.BR) and Britain’s NatWest (NWG.L) quitting retail lending. The remaining big bank duopoly of AIB (AIBG.I) and Bank of Ireland (BIRG.I) means a customer backlash is unlikely as there is little alternative. Still, championing higher pay for bankers is a gutsy move in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. Moreover, AIB is still majority-owned by the state. Anger over higher banker pay could also be a gift to left-leaning Sinn Féin, which supports the caps and is tipped to win an election in 2025. The fatter paychecks may be fleeting. (By Aimee Donnellan)
Follow @Breakingviews on Twitter
(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)
Capital Calls - More concise insights on global finance:
Singapore Airlines extends its India runway read more
Rate shock calls time on funky debt boom read more
Nestlé U-turn is refreshing example of M&A candour read more
Brenntag’s U.S. swoop is both logical and risky read more
Dr. Martens exposes fashion’s squeezed middle read more
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.