Cllr. John Leahy has reacted angrily to the comments of Bank of Ireland CEO Richie Boucher which he made in a recent interview to the Irish Times. In the interview Mr. Boucher defended Bank of Ireland’s hard line on debt forgiveness. He spoke of the bank having to be mindful of its responsibilities. In his interview to the Irish Times Mr. Boucher said; every concession means someone has to pay.We have responsibilities to the people who are meeting their mortgages, to depositors and to people who have given us capital’. Cllr. Leahy has spoken of his anger on reading the interview which Mr. Boucher gave to the Times; ‘Richie Boucher has a brass neck to talk about responsibilities. This very man was at the forefront of Irish banking when this country crashed. He and his ilk were very quick to come running to the government who in turn turned to the people of our country to bail them out. And now he talks about how people need to be realistic on the subject of debt forgiveness. Where was his realism when he was looking for bailouts which amounted to billions to rescue banks? How dare he give us a lecture on responsible banking?’ said Cllr. Leahy.
Cllr. Leahy has made several representations on behalf of distressed homeowners with the banks. He says that the government is failing distressed homeowners as they are not taking a tough enough stance with the banks. The councillor went onto say; ‘I am familiar with people who are at breaking point as a result of being unable to meet their mortgage repayments. They desparately wish to seek resolution of their situations. The simple reality is that an element of debt forgiveness must be part of this. These people are not looking for a free lunch. They want to pay their way but as things stand there is no possibility of them dealing with their problems as the amount of debt they are in is just crazy. If we were able to bail out our banks to the tune of tens of thousands of millions, surely we can find some mechanism to help our people. The very first thing we all must do is take a much harder line with our financial institutions and stop taking lectures from failed bankers’,
Cllr. Leahy was also very critical of Mr. Boucher’s views on his salary. In the interview Mr. Boucher was asked to comment on his salary. Mr. Boucher responded by saying; ‘There will be some people who if I got paid sixpence would say it’s too much’. Cllr Leahy said; ‘It is as if Richie Boucher feels the public are hard on him. The man’s salary is 843,000 ! How he can look himself in the mirror and feel he is worth this money just beggars belief. This very man then speaks about people needing to be realistic. Richie Boucher hasn’t the first clue of realism. Realism for many people is stress and pressure as they wonder how they will meet their debts.’