‘We Wrote Off Their Debts, They Crushed Their Own Pensioners’



From top: Denis O’Brien, Noel Rock.

In yesterday’s Sunday Business Post.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock wrote a column about Independent News and Media (INM) and its pension cuts – some of which will amount to 70% – describing the company’s moves as “appalling”.

He also referred to the pockets of INM’s biggest shareholder, Denis O’Brien, without naming him.

Mr Rock wrote:

“… But what shifts it from appalling to repugnant is that INM is a massively profitable company, in large part because workers agreed to write down the value of their pensions by 40 per cent in 2013.

“INM announced some months ago that it made a profit of €37 million in 2015. It will have a Euromillions Jackpot figure of €87 million in pure cash burning a hole in its corporate pockets by the end of this month.

“…Sadly, and wrongly, this is not illegal in Ireland. It is in Britain.

“…While Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar is investigating the possibility of intervening in the forthcoming High Court hearing on the capital restructuring of INM and asking the court to consider appropriateness of capital restructuring when it’s closing this pension scheme, it’s certainly worth asking if a “wait and see” approach is good enough, or whether we need to directly intervene.

“…[INM shareholders] also benefited when banks, including the state-owned AIB as well as Bank of Ireland, wrote off almost €140 million in INM debt. These are banks that we bailed out.

“So every single person in Ireland was involved in the indirect bailout of INM. We wrote off their debts, and they crushed their own pensioners to the tune of two-fifths of their entitlement.

We didn’t take that hit as a society so that, three years later, the company would come back, throw its pensioners under a proverbial bus, and suck all the money out of the company for the shareholders we, effectively, did a deal with.

Nor did we do it so that the company could use the cash it is taking off pensioners and transfer it directly into the pockets of its largest shareholder, by buying Newstalk or any other asset he happens to have.”


Noel Rock: Why the INM pension scandal should concern and anger us all (Sunday Business Post)


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29 thoughts on “‘We Wrote Off Their Debts, They Crushed Their Own Pensioners’

  1. Kolmo

    Ooh, Mr. Rock is looking not to get elected next election..

    In some companies you’d get a handsome bonus for shafting your underlings on the way up the ladder, until you inevitably get shafted yourself…and then they’ll tell you to grow up, as they escort you off the premises..I thought the west-winger above would enthusiastically endorse what happened to the pensioners..

      1. postmanpat

        TDs who don’t push for it are shareholders in this and similar companies. Once you invest in the stock market you become morally bankrupt. People become politicians to increase their personal wealth and its not through their salaries, or travel expenses. That’s just a side show entertain the Daily Mirror/Sun readers. Look how Enda s fighting for Apple Inc. who owe European citizens an astronomical fortune in tax. That to me is the story of the year but the Broadsheets are back focusing on house and apartment pull-out supplements, and the tabloids focusing on sex perverts and(/or)Xfactor. What the ****? Not I’m my name! I don’t own shares in Apple so if the share price drop because they have to pay their due then so be it. But the politicians have a vested interest in the tech/information industry because it makes up a significant part of their portfolios. The shareholders of INM are in the government like a virus.

    1. Anne

      Did you know when something is said to be bad, it’s usually good for someone else..the someone else usually being the majority.

      Bad for landlords – good for tenants
      Bad for employers -good for employees
      Bad for business – good for society.

  2. Junkface

    Horrible dispicable behaviour. Ireland really is a playground for the rich, they can do what they want, the government almost welcomes f***ing around with people’s pensions

    No laws to protect society like they have in the UK? Why not?

    1. realPolithicks

      “No laws to protect society like they have in the UK? Why not?”

      Because they don’t care.

      1. CousinJack

        Let this be a lesson to those in NI who seek reunification, the UK may be bad but the Republic will let the capitalist take your pension

      2. Junkface

        I agree, I don’t see Ireland changing much over the next 10 years. Same frustrations every year. Big Business get away with paying no tax pretty much, Housing crisis continues with no solution in sight, Vulture funds allowed to take over large chunks of the housing market, pick their moment and suddenly start evicting families, wealth gap increases, the rich squeeze middle class so much not even their pensions are safe. And masses of idiots only vote for FG and unbelievably FF!! After destroying the economy and kick starting waves of mass emmigration of young people. So nothing is going to change anytime soon.

        What are the positives for Irish people looking to the future?

  3. VinLieger

    Ahh yes blame dinny for everything in a deflection from acknowledging successive FG and FF governments have purposely ignored doing anything about the ticking tine bombs that are defined benefit pension scheme.

    Yes dinny could pay for this one but what about the potentially hundreds of other similar schemes quietly ticking away?

    1. jambon

      What about them? Scum will take advantage of loopholes in the law in that situation too? Scum like Dinny?

  4. postmanpat

    Oh boo hoo for the Baby Boomer generation. The lesson here is to save a portion of your own salary yourself and stop paying into a pension. I pay into a pension through work. I wish I had the option to keep the cash instead because I know when it comes my time to benefit from it, I will get shafted. I know this because they say there is a pension deficit. the writing is on the wall. , am I supposed to be surprised in 30 years? when the powers that be go “sorry, no cash left , have you not been following the news for the last 3 decades?” Whereas if I saved the cash myself I would have something to show for it. plus a state pension. TODAY, Lets all learn from these poor old dudes (rich baby boomers) . they wasted years on there own contributions , and that’s when times were not run exclusively by sociopathic vulture capitalists, now they are. The thing is, these oldies feel hard done by despite living in a time where a mortgage was 20 years for a 3 bed house in Dublin, and one could spend the last 15 plus years before retirement, mortgage free, single income and providing for a spouse and raising 3 kids and putting them all through college. So as bad as I feel for them I feel 1000x worse for my own and younger generations. I mean doesn’t the population have to grow to have enough young people for the oldies to leech off? are we not having smaller families for a multitude of legitimate reasons . Bar the immigrant population from catholic run eastern European & African countries who tend to have larger families but they will soon see the folly in that in a single generation when they see their own kids cannot get a job and get hip to the “suffering & drudgery is good” lie that I and thousands of other families aren’t buying anymore.

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