Archive for August 11th, 2012

Dating Tip of the Week

“I am certainly willing to meet you to discuss this again. I would prefer to meet you in a public house, hotel, or restaurant or café, rather than in your office” Vincent Browne responding to a prickly letter from Denis O’Brien

Other top tips for Vincent

(1) Don’t let Denis pay for the meal or the coffee or whatever. Split the bill in half or pay for what you consume. Otherwise you might find yourself feeling beholden or obligated, if you know what I mean..

(2) Limit your alcohol intake, or better still, don’t drink alcohol at all. It may impair your judgment, and you never know where you might end up, regretting it the next morning. Also, apropos drinks, don’t leave your drink unattended lest it be interfered with or spiked.

(3) Tell friends and colleagues where and when you’re going, and arrange to have one of them call you 10 minutes after your meeting is due to start, so that if there is any awkwardness you can make your excuses and leave. Also arrange to text or call your friends when the meeting is due to conclude. Just to make sure you’re safe.

(4) Bring your own transport, or at least have the means to make your way home after the meeting. Again, you don’t want to find yourself at the mercy of being chauffeured by Denis in a confined space where you might feel powerless.

(5) Trust your instincts, if you feel uncomfortable, even if you don’t know precisely why, then be prepared to leave, even if it offends Denis’s feelings. Remember, there are lots more fish in the sea, you’re young and there will be other opportunities!

Of course, Vincent’s aversion to meeting defensive characters at their offices might have been coloured by his recent experience at the NAMA HQ, where he was made sit in a psychologically intimidating baby chair surrounded by threatening vegetation. He was not happy!

Table of the Week

The above is from the August monthly Economic Bulletin from Ireland’s Department of Finance. There has been a recent uptick in forecast GDP in recent projections from a raft of sources. The Central Bank, Bank of Ireland and Irish employers’ organisation, IBEC, have all upgraded their forecasts. The finalised GDP data for 2011 was positive of course, and saw an overall GDP increase in 2011 of 1.4% compared to the provisional estimate of 0.7%. And this week has seen some good news with consumer confidence rising, reliance by our banks on central bank funding declining.

But this was the week when our most important real trade partner, the UK, lowered its growth forecast for 2012 from 0.8% to zero. And the Central Bank of Ireland has previously estimated that there is a relationship between Irish GDP growth and that of the UK and that for every 1% change to UK growth, there is a change of 0.8% to our own growth. The view on here is that it will be a challenge to grow the economy at all this year, particularly as a result of international weaknesses.

Blinkered thinking of the Week

“I am putting you on good notice that if you continue to libel me in your TV show or in your Irish Times column I will be left with no other avenue but to sue you personally” Denis O’Brien’s prickly letter to broadcaster/journalist Vincent Browne

Well, it’s not strictly true that this was Denis’s “only avenue”, surely an alternative “avenue” would be to pursue the more usual route of suing the broadcaster/publisher, TV3 or the Irish Times.

And why did Denis confine himself to threatening Vincent’s utterances in just two outlets. What if Vincent takes himself off on a cruise of the Carribbean for his annual holliers and decides to stop off in a TV studio in every country in which Denis’s Digicel holds mobile phone licences, and performs his Moriarty stand-up routine?


Professional highlight of the Week

Yesterday in London, the High Court delivered its verdict on Paddy McKillen’s challenge to the billionaire Barclay brothers, Frederick and David. Above is the list of barristers acting in the case, and you might forgive the judge for actuallt omitting Paddy McKillen’s barristers by accident from the list!. I counted 30-40 solicitors and barristers at the hearings. And who is paying for it all? We don’t yet know as the judge has not yet awarded costs, but the Barclays’ newspaper, the Telegraph estimated that the bill for Paddy might be GBP 15m (€20m). Paddy may appeal the judgment, but in the context of a personal fortune of €75m estimated by the Sunday Times in 2009, this case may well have taken a serious chunk out of Paddy’s finances.

Professional lowlight of the Week

“The Minister cannot understand how you, as highly remunerated professional administrators with the support of highly remunerated actuaries and auditors, could not have had greater insight into the total increased cost at an earlier stage”

Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan in a letter on 25th June, 2012 to Quinn Insurance administrators, Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton

It was revealed this week that even Minister Noonan is getting fed up at what he sees as poor performance by some professionals, though the administrators refuted claims that they had misled the Department of Finance. The administrators are at least suing the auditors, PwC for failing to uncover intercompany guarantees at Quinn Insurance which have in part accounted for the company’s difficulties.

Cute Hoor of the Week

It mightn’t be so well known on this side of the Border but Jim Allister’s Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) party – small but vocal – adds plenty of colour to political discourse in Northern Ireland* Jim is vehemently anti-republican, which is fair enough, but he regularly gives us all a good chuckle as the thinly-stretched barrister and former MEP mangles his native language.

Jim’s literacy was again called into question this week when he headlined one of his press releases “Sectarianism in Boxing Needs Addressed when he really meant “needs addressing”. After the magnificent displays from our Olympic boxers from both sides of the Border this week, Jim’s calling for boxing to be an inclusive sport is timely.

But it was the content of the release which was worthy of the cuteness of anything any politician on this side of the Border has managed in the past 90 years.

Jim calls for what he claims to be sectarianism to be removed from boxing. And one of his key proposals would be the abandoning of colours designating “sides”  – green for nationalists for example. And what does Jim suggest in their stead?

“neutral club attire during championship events (using the traditional red and blue rather than party political colours)”

Now HANG ON a minute there, what are the colours of the British Union Jack again?

*Northern Ireland, it seems from events this week that some of the jurisdiction’s denizens are not at all happy with the term “Northern Ireland” and indeed it is true that amongst Republicans, you often hear the terms “six counties” and “statelet” which underlines the view that the jurisdiction is a temporary stop-gap until ultimate reunification. The issue came into focus this week, when the Unionist controlled Department of Regional Development decided to erect “Welcome to Northern Ireland” signs on roads coming from the Republic into the North, signs which have promptly been stolen or vandalised.


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