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D4 Hostess Eyes Ethna’s Seat

Posted on: January 8th, 2008 1 Comment

Nominations closed yesterday week for the shoot-out at the EBS board of directors. The victim of last year’s board shafting, Ethna Tinney, handed in her nomination (read about last year’s battle with the board here). She alone is carrying the flag for the members.

Ethna is no certainty. Peculiar characters are throwing shapes. Not only are a few of the current board cabal seeking re-election, but according to my EBS mole there could be dark horse candidates, comfortable in either camp.
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EBS insiders Jim Ruane and Emer Finnan are up for re-election. The name of political hostess Linda O’Shea Farren was whispered by my mole. When I first heard the suggestion of Linda, I was puzzled. Linda is a serial candidate. She has a string of thwarted ambitions to her name. But she could damage Ethna’s plucky effort.

I remember Linda from a host of Seanad elections. “Is she not the lady who puts her name forward for every vacancy in Ireland?” I asked. The mole nodded.

“Well, did she not stand for the Seanad in 1997? And in 2002? And in 2007?” “Yes,” replied the mole. “Last year she trailed in 16th out of 23.”

“Did the same Linda not unsuccessfully put herself up for the Law Society Council 18 months ago?” I asked. “Yes.” “And she even tried for the governing authority of UCD?” “Yes.”

“Some years she wants to be a senator; some years an academic dignitary; some years a legal apparatchik. This year it’s the board of the EBS?” “Yes. We received her nomination last week,” muttered the mole.

“Has she lost her marbles?!” “She is a rich solicitor, a celebrated hostess. She lives in Dublin 4’s top dollar Raglan Road – in Fitzroy House no less. Her neighbours include Denis O’Brien and Van Morrison.”

“OK, but what does she know about a humble building society, the EBS?” “Well, Michael Fingleton, boss of the rival Irish Nationwide, was at her €1,600-a-head bash for Bill Clinton. He probably brought her up to speed.” “Did she corner Fingers and demand a seat on the Nationwide board that night?” I asked. “Perhaps, but she has now targeted us at the EBS.” he responded

“Does she have an EBS mortgage?” “Come on. She lives in Fitzroy House.”

“Does she have a platform?” “She says she doesn’t like the co-option of directors by the present board.” Hardly heresy. The EBS board could learn to love lawyer Linda. Her entry into the race offers the directors a chance to stop Ethna.

Ethna Tinney put in six years of fighting for the EBS underdog. She knows the inside story. Serial candidate Linda the lawyer reminds me of Muriel Scorer of the Irish Permanent. A few years ago Muriel kicked up stink against the Farrell dynasty at the Permo. Eventually the board made her a director. Nobody ever heard of Muriel again.

If I may borrow a phrase from my Seanad colleague Eoghan Harris when supporting another underdog in an all-female political spat. Eoghan colourfully endorsed MEP Bernie Malone with the ringing alliteration that Bernie had “blood on her blouse.” At the time the Labour Party top brass was using the well-groomed Orla Guerin to block the embattled Bernie.

Ethna Tinney has “blood on her blouse”; she has endured the wounds of battle. She – and she alone – deserves the spoils of war.