Eugene Sheehy feels your pain. He knows we’re all in this together. So he’s going to take one for the team. He’s told The Irish Times that he will take less than half his pension entitlement, so rather than the full E541,000 a year he could demand, he’s prepared to rub by on E250,000, or less than E700 a day, and that’s before tax, too.

One of the dirtiest little secrets of the pensions industry, here and in Ireland, is the deceit that those who are paid more somehow deserve more state assistance to ensure they go on enjoying their lifestyle in retirement. In the UK, the rules allow large sums to be shipped into tax-sheltered schemes, but these are of most value to those who are already the highest earners. The incentive for basic rate taxpayers, whose budgets are under more pressure, is much less.

Mr Sheehy spent his career at Allied Irish Banks, rising through the ranks to become CEO in 2005, just in time to see the bank hit the rocks. He retired in 2009, aged 55. As sacrifices go, his will not be too painful, but at least it’s a start. Perhaps the UK banks might publish a list of their top-paid pensioners to see if they can be shamed into better behaviour. Well, it’s a thought.

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