Naas priest attacks banks

EXORBITANT pensions paid to bankers have come under fire from the Catholic Church authorities in Naas.

EXORBITANT pensions paid to bankers have come under fire from the Catholic Church authorities in Naas.

The front page article in Sunday’s (November 11) parish newsletter attacks both the scale of the payments to retired bank bosses and the failure of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Micheal Noonan to act.

In a commentary which will resonate with the personal experiences of many parishioners it states: “We heard of the enormous pensions some former bankers are receiving; one (Eugene Sheehy) made a voluntary cut to his pension, reducing it to a ‘mere’ E250,000.”

It goes on: “It’s important to remember that the bank in question (AIB) is almost totally owned by the taxpayer; so it’s the ordinary person on the street who is contributing to this pension.”

At the same time, the article points out, an 89 year old woman, who worked all her life had her one hour of home help a week cut.

The article challenged the Taoiseach to hold a referendum “to allow the people to voice their opinion on whether

they want to bring about change.”

This referred to Mr. Noonan’s claim that he would do nothing about the pensions because contractual arrangements required constitutional change.

The priest pointed out that a reduction to the pensions would not alter Ireland’s overall financial position; however this is not the point.

“How can we stand by as the vulnerable in or society take severe cuts while those in leadership positions who acted irresponsibly receive the award of outrageous pensions ?“ he asks.

Parish priest Fr. John Brickley told the Leader yesterday he was unaware which priest wrote the article.

“I don’t look after the articles and I didn’t write it but my understanding is that they look as Scripture and look at what is happening in the community and try to connect both. It is reflection for people to take with them and the intention is to link some event during the week with the Gospel,” Fr. Brickley said.

Naas curate Fr. PJ Madden, appointed to the Naas Sallins Two Mile House parish in September, spoke on local radio on Monday but made no reference to the article.

An outspoken clergyman, Fr. Madden was ordained in 2005 – some 6 years after the death of his wife and he served in Graiguecullen, Co. Carlow.

Last week, Kildare town resident and former Fine Gael minister Alan Dukes defended the E500,000 salaries paid to those running the former Anglo Irish Bank, the institution most closely associated with the collapse of the economy.

- Paul O’Meara