Archive for May 19th, 2012

Picture of the Week

This was the week when BBC Northern Ireland broadcast a Spotlight special on Sean Quinn’s former property empire, a programme which brought presenter Jim Fitzpatrick on a global trek tracking down assets and companies to which the assets had been controversially transferred. In Belize City, the capital of the small central American country of Belize, Jim tracked down the registered office of a company called Galfis which has acquired a €100m Moscow office block in circumstances which are the subject of ongoing court proceedings. The registered office turns out to be a mailbox in the hallway of an anonymous post office. Now this registered office of a €100m international company might surprise you, but who knows, perhaps behind the door exists a science fiction world like that in the locker in “Men in Black 2”, remember?

Any resemblance between the science fiction world of Lowell Cunningham and what is happening with the former Quinn property empire would be purely coincidental.

Quote of the Week

“There isn’t a country of the 17 euro countries at present who could carry this in a referendum, there isn’t a single country bar Ireland. If we can carry this that will send a signal out to Europe.” Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan speaking to Bloomberg on 16th May, 2012 seemingly conceding Ireland is extraordinary amongst Europeans in having a voting population which might – or might not – vote for the Fiscal Compact in the referendum on 31st May

“I suppose we will have to say that we will need access to this fund and I think Ireland will be looking to say can we vote again, because we will need access to this fund” Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Enterprise Richard Bruton stating what some would say was the bleedin’ obvious but which was nonetheless promptly retracted by Fine Gael

“Apart from the Greek islands, I think most Irish people do not have a lot . . if you go into the shops here, apart from feta cheese, how many Greek items do you put in your basket?” Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on Bloomberg describing the economic links between Greece and Ireland, and omitting olives, olive oil and fruit. Oh and the €345.702m that we loaned to Greece as part of its first bailout in 2010.

Public sector procurement exercise of the Week
When the bank now known as IBRC – formerly known as Anglo and INBS, and 100% owned by you, the taxpayer – published a tender for the fit-out of 52 apartments in central Dublin for rental, eyebrows were raised at the prospect of IBRC getting into the property rental business. Although the precise address of the Dublin 1 building has not been confirmed, it is speculated that it is the Liam Carroll Liffey Trust building next to The Point. What expertise has IBRC in renting property, we wondered. And this week we have been wondering what expertise IBRC has in procurement, as the Q&A and additional tender documents and the extension of the bid deadline seemed to indicate IBRC hasn’t a clue. Here are the latest Q&A for the tender.

What next, will we be able to turn up at the IBRC HQ and ask for a spice burger and a can of Fanta?

Runner-up goes to NAMA which is seemingly on the look-out for a “Relationship Officer”. Seems that former CIF communication director, Martin Whelan recruited by NAMA in January, is set to get an underling. By the way, you’d never know from the NAMA recruitment website that there was a vacancy, the only present “vacancy” shown on that site being an invitation of general applications to be considered at some unspecified future date. It was the businesspost.ie website which reported the vacancy. So great to see NAMA being transparent and efficient in its recruitment activity!

Table of the Week
Here is the recent history of mortgage lending in Ireland as recorded by Irish Banking Federation which represents “well over 95%” of banks providing mortgage lending in the State. Yesterday’s release of Q1,2012 figures was quite shocking, because for all the talk of banks bulking up their mortgage lending, there was a dramatic decline from what was already a low base.


Read Full Post »