Archive for September 15th, 2012

Lest we forget how NAMA gets into every nook and cranny of Irish life, we learn from the Irish Times today that NAMA is to oversee the sale of 10 paintings by one of its developers. The developer, David Arnold has reportedly engaged British auction house Bonham’s to sell 10 paintings by Irish artists – Bonhams is said to be exhibiting the paintings in Ireland prior to the auction, a date for which has not been given. The paintings are expected to have guide prices of €250-500,000 in total. David Arnold is the developer who fronted D2 Private with Deirdre Foley. D2 Private is presently selling the Woolgate Exchange in the City of London with a price tag in the region of €300m, though it is believed the loans for the building from Anglo have not been moved to NAMA. D2 sold 23 Savile Row in London’s West End in August 2012 for GBP 200m (€275m) and it is unclear if this was a NAMA-related sale. We do know that One Warrington Place in Dublin which sold earlier this year for €26-27m with NAMA staple finance was definitely a NAMA property.

NAMA also has control over solicitor and developer – and UK resident – Noel Smyth’s art collection, which has been dismissed by some as a “load of tat”. NAMA took possession of the 400-piece collection late last year as Noel seemingly struggled to repay his debt to the Agency.

At least with the David Arnold paintings, NAMA is not giving this art away with insensitive magnanimity as it did with a donation of a John Lavery painting to the National Gallery of Ireland in May 2011 when the Agency memorably said it was “a goodwill gesture to the National Gallery and to the Irish people to offer the National Gallery one piece of art from the collection for free given the fact that they advised it was of importance to the heritage of Ireland” Mind you, NAMA wasn’t the only state agency to give away (our) art free-of-charge, AIB and IBRC (formerly Anglo and INBS) have both donated art to the State. The Lavery painting was part of Derek Quinlan’s art collection, much of which was sold by NAMA at Christie’s in New York and London late last year.

There were ructions when NAMA appointed Christie’s to deal with the Derek Quinlan collection, with Irish fine art auctioneers particularly vocal about paintings by Irish artists being auctioned by foreign auction companies. In the case of the David Arnold paintings, NAMA has neatly side-stepped any controversy by saying that it was David Arnold himself who chose the auctioneer and NAMA’s principal concern was that the paintings be sold in a transparent manner.

A search of the Bonham’s website indicates that the David Arnold paintings are not yet included in a scheduled auction.


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Of the Week…

Paradox of the Week..


“Ireland is a high tax country”
We have a marginal rate of tax (including Universal Social Charge and PRSI) of 52% which kicks in at €32,800, just above our average wage of €32,400.

“Ireland is a low tax country”
But compared with other countries, we pay less average income tax (including Universal Social Charge and PRSI) until we start earning more than 150% the average wage.

From the IMF report published earlier this week.

Horror Statistic of the Week


We know that the marginal rate of tax facing anyone earning over €32,800 in Ireland is a staggering 52% (comprising Universal Social Charge of 7%, PRSI of 4% and income tax of 41%), so if you’re earning €40,000 a year and someone offers you €100 for a couple of hours overtime, you’ll just take home €48 after deducting taxes of €52 from the €100. However if you earn €18,303 and your boss offers you an extra €1 for some reason, DON’T TAKE IT because you’ll pay €468.27 of taxes and charges on that €1. Yes, as revealed the IMF report published this week which contains a table of our income tax, the marginal tax rate between €18,303 and €18,304 is 46,827%.

Health Scare of the Week

An IMF report this week showed that in Ireland, we spend more of a proportion of GDP on the public health system than any other country in the world except the USA.

But in terms of the quality of our healthcare, we are waaaaay down the list.

Plus we found out from the IMF report that “generic drugs account for only one-fifth of all prescriptions, which compares poorly to four-fifth in neighboring United Kingdom.”

The IMF document suggests there is plenty of scope to save on the health pay-bill and on the cost of drugs.

Quinn saga instalment of the Week

The planned rally for tomorrow in Ballyconnell has been cancelled apparently, due to a bereavement. But the organisers, “Concerned Irish Citizens” had big plans for the rally which was set to be a repeat of the demonstration in July 2012 when about 4,000 people turned out in support of Sean Quinn . Here is a sample of the slogan ideas for protestors’ placards:

Government appeal of the Week

With the Labour-Fine Gael coalition set to be tested to breaking point in the three-month run-up to Budget 2013, both the Labour and Fine Gael parties held separate “think-ins” during the past week, and both have had an eye on the potential for internecine dissent, something which has even discomfitted the IMF recently. For Labour’s part, party leader Eamon Gilmore has come out and appealed for an early end to kite-flying season, graphically illustrated by Japlandic.com on here recently.

(Graphics above produced by Japlandic.com, contact here)

Iris Robinson award for rank hypocrisy

The quarterly tax defaulters lists produced by Ireland’s Revenue Commissioners have lost something of their power ever since Deputy  Mick Wallace’s company agreed a €2.1m settlement over deliberately under-declared VAT, a settlement which is unlikely to be paid, whilst Mick continues to sit as one of 166 law-makers in the Dail. Questions in that case still remain over the under-declarations and the subsequent settlement reached with the Revenue Commissioners, and Mick says that no-one except his constituents in Wexford has the right to remove him, though they are not scheduled to vote again until 2016. But for all that, in a small country where seven-degrees-of-separation is actually closer to three degrees, there is keen interest in the quarterly list of tax sinners. The glamorous star of yesterday’s list might have been the 31-year old model, Glenda Gilson but her bill only came to a relatively modest €73,000. It was the former school principal and current “operator of a private school” Padraig O’Shea (pictured here) whose €705,000 settlement grabbed the headlines. Padraig is the former principal of St Joseph’s College in Borrisoleigh in Tipperary, a “family run co-educational secondary school” where Padraig is still listed as “manager”. Padraig and the school hit the national headlines earlier this year when it emerged the school had refused admittance to a pregnant teenager in 2009, with Padraig assuming the high moral ground saying his school “did not take such girls”. He later went on to give interviews where he defended his decision on the grounds of morality and moral standards. Like some American evangelist who has finally been found out, Padraig is today revealed as a sanctimonious hypocrite who metaphorically fornicated his fellow country men, women and children with a vast under-declaration of income tax. As Mick Wallace said “let he who has not sinned cast the first stone”, but then again we know from events in 2009 that such views are not compatible with Padraig’s outlook on life.

Table of the Week

The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council issued a report during the week in which it called for an extra €2.3bn of additional cuts and taxes in 2013-2015. The report provoked outrage from some quarters, but let’s not forget that the present plan is to cut and tax €18.7bn in 2013-2015 which dwarves the Council’s recommendation of an additional €2.3bn adjustment.

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