Shane Ross

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Archive for May, 2011

Sarky’s Lady Wows Noonan

ALL year the lady has been tormenting us. And all week we have been love bombing her.

Christine Lagarde, French Finance Minister and no friend of Ireland, has become the darling of our Cabinet.

Bankers Haunt Queen’s Visit


A wonderful week is haunted by the ghosts of bankers past. The Queen may come and the Queen may go, but Ireland’s bankers are still calling the shots.

As I head for London on the early Cityjet flight I spot the first ghost. Former Bank of Ireland chief Richard Burrows is sitting at the front of the plane in the exclusive ‘Cityplus’ section.

The Honohan Brothers are Heroes

THERE must be a contrarian gene in the Honohan family. Last week, Ed rocked the Four Courts when he launched a broadside on Ireland’s debt and bankruptcy laws. He courted media publicity.

Last November, brother Patrick rocked the Fianna Fail/ Green coalition when he let the cat out of the bag about the EU/IMF taking over the nation’s finances.

On both occasions, the Government would have preferred if the Honohans had kept their own counsel. Neither was for muzzling. Let us salute the Honohans as unlikely heroes of the people.

Pensioners Suckered by 1% Levy

DO you pay into a pension fund? No? Well, you are the cute hoor. You do? Well, name your pension fund manager. You cannot?

Not surprising, because that is exactly where the titans of the pensions industry want to keep you.

The pensions industry is divided into two parts: those who take and those who give.

A handful of managers take. Hundreds of thousands of subscribers to pension funds give.

Put a Mandarin in the Seanad

PUT yourself for a moment in the shoes of Joan Burton. A few months ago the Minister for Social Protection was passed over as Minister for Finance. Eyebrows were raised as she was the heaviest financial hitter on offer.

Today her normally hyperactive jaw must drop as her Cabinet colleagues debate the merits of complex financial measures.

Cabinet secrecy bars us from knowing if Joan contributes to the discussions on the economy. Or does she hold her peace, a detached professional with a wry smile watching the amateurs struggling with the numbers?

The Cabinet’s financial powerhouses are patently underqualified to make important decisions on the financial crisis. Taoiseach Enda Kenny is a former teacher. Finance Minister Michael Noonan is a former teacher. Minister for Public Service and Reform Brendan Howlin is a former teacher.

The financial troika is good at teaching. Let us hope they are equally good at learning.

Bloodbath in the Boardroom

NOT all beards bring bad news. Normally the bushier the beard, the greater the threat of its bearer to the economy. So Siptu’s Jack O’Connor looks marginally more menacing to Ireland’s fragile finances than ICTU’s David Begg.

The sight of a Jack O’C-type beard taking over at the Health quagmire sent those of us with whiskerphobia heading for the hills. What would the new whiskered one do with his big budget?