Ireland bans bank bonuses
Pedestrains walk by a AIB bank in the Grafton Street shopping district in Dublin, Ireland November 21, 2010.
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A new poll out this week from Bloomberg says that 70 percent of Americans think big bonuses to Wall Street Bankers should be banned. In Ireland, the government has done just that.
From the European Desk in London, Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.
STEPHEN BEARD: Ireland's Finance Minister has blocked the Allied Irish Bank from paying out $53 million in staff bonuses. He has the power to do this. He's propped up the bank with more than $4 billion in taxpayers' cash. And he says he'll pull the money out if the bank goes ahead with the bonuses. James Reilly -- deputy head of the main Opposition Party -- has welcomed the government's move. He says that bailing out banks -- like Allied Irish -- has triggered painful budget cuts,
JAMES REILLY: Blind people would not be able to afford their guide dog to give them the independence to go to the shop. But bankers could get bonuses for Christmas to cruise the Caribbean. It just is absolutely, utterly unacceptable to the Irish public and I'm glad it's been stopped.
The bank's board had said it had little choice but to pay the bonuses after a former employee sued. Now it says its relieved not to be making the payments. The government may pass legislation to ensure that its ban is legal.
In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.