Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 11:20 UK

Top Irish banker pelted with eggs


Pensioner Gary Keogh was led out after throwing eggs at the bankers

One of Ireland's top bankers was pelted with eggs on Wednesday as hundreds of angry shareholders attended a meeting.

Dermot Gleeson, chairman of Allied Irish, ducked to avoid the missiles after addressing an extraordinary general meeting at its Dublin HQ.

Pensioner Gary Keogh said he felt compelled to throw the eggs after Mr Gleeson tried to speak over another shareholder.

Mr Keogh, from Blackrock in south Dublin, was removed from the building.

He said he was extremely angry after losing his pension in the economic downturn.

"The whole board should be replaced by Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck," he added.

"I have no pension. My pension now is wiped out because of AIB. I cannot sell the shares because they are useless.

"If we didn't live in a tolerant society, the chairman and the rest of the board would be hanging by their necks with piano wire out on the road."

If we didn't live in a tolerant society, the chairman and the rest of the board would be hanging by their necks with piano wire out on the road.

AIB shareholder, Gary Keogh

Meanwhile, inside, an unsettled Mr Gleeson stood in front of a blue AIB logo spattered with egg and continued to take questions from shareholders.

He apologised to shareholders for "the anxiety and distress" they had suffered from the collapsing share price and the cessation of dividends.

The bank had called the meeting to seek shareholder approval for a 3.5bn euro government recapitalisation plan. It received overwhelming backing.

In exchange for the capital injection from the taxpayer, the State will get an 8% annual dividend and a 25% share in the bank.

The investment was approved by the European Commission due to AIB's importance to the Irish economy.

The past 12 months have been disastrous for the bank, which has lost 91% of its share value amid the crisis in the financial system.

The bank's management had for months claimed it didn't need any government help, but they were forced into a humiliating climb-down in April when evidence mounted that in-house estimates for defaulting loans were hopelessly optimistic.

Mr Gleeson will stand down in July.

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