Shane Ross

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Archive for March, 2009

Bravo to the Whistleblower

LAST June I received a fascinating visitor. The guy said he was a former internal auditor of AIB. He wanted advice. At first I was not overexcited. I sometimes seem to attract every crackpot in Ireland. Some are genuine. Others are headbangers.

Eugene McErlean was no headbanger. He was the real McCoy. At first he was a slight disappointment. He had no complaint against AIB.


Broadband Still Being Neglected

In the Senate on Wednesday night, it looked like the government might be finally ready to sit up and listen to what I have been saying about broadband for the last number of years. This hope was unfortunately immediately dashed when it became clear that the motion was little more than a token gesture.

I again highlighted the issue of the wholly inadequate broadband service in Ireland and pushed the government to ensure that any communications policy drives the Irish economy and breaks the digital divide. Lack of broadband seriously threatens our economic progress.

My Broadband Bill was debated in the Senate in October and voted down by a mere 5 votes (27-22). In it, I provided a road map for the government but they are still refusing to take substantial action; slowing to a crawl-much like many homes’ internet connection.

The Land With Two Brians

LAST week was a tale of two Brians. Brawny Brian and Brainy Brian. Brian Cowen stormed the White House in Washington. Brian Lenihan headed for London.

Well, who did more for the cause of Ireland?

Brian Cowen was a guest of President Obama. Judging from the late arrival of the White House invitation to the Taoiseach, the new President did not rate Ireland at the top of his agenda. But happily Biffo finally managed to secure a White House pass, so the annual St Patrick’s Day bull went ahead.


Never Trust An Institute

NEVER, never, trust an “institute”. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) ranks with the financial regulator as the winner of the wooden spoon for watchdogs.

The ICAI boasts such illustrious members as Charles Haughey, DCC’s Jim Flavin, even recent heroes like Anglo’s trio of Sean Fitzpatrick, David Drumm and Willie McAteer. Boring old accountancy bodies seem to attract such interesting people. Sean was even on the institute’s council while he was burying all those loans.


The Slush Fund For Failures

EOGHAN Harris was in flying form in the Senate last week. He and I sit on opposite sides of the House, but it is always reassuring to see a friendly face on the Government benches. I settled comfortably into my seat, ready for a dose of compelling rhetoric from the Senate’s most passionate speaker.

Eoghan did not disappoint. He was making perfect sense on the controversial Bill which enables the State to pillage money from the National Pension Fund and use it to bolster the banks. The only surprise was his expertise in money matters. I found myself nodding wisely in agreement. Suddenly my Sunday Independent comrade shattered all the unity that might be expected of a parliamentary colleague from this paper.


A Nation Of Narcotics

LAST April I met a hotshot Dublin businessman in a southside pub. He was not a household name but — at that time — he was as rich as Croesus. And he was angry at a piece I had written about Anglo Irish Bank.