Table of the Week
It seems to have gone largely unnoticed that the Government’s own plans are to reduce headcount in the public sector in 2013 by 7,404 so-called “whole time equivalents” It remains unclear how many employees this will affect, as two employees working half-time would make just one “whole time equivalent”. But what the plans, outlined when the Budget 2013 documentation was published in December 2012, mean is that we will need create a net of at least 7,404 jobs in the private sector just to maintain employment at current levels.
And the numbers above look light. Take the Gardai where they are required to make €36m of payroll savings in 2013. That would equate to 1,500 Gardai at €48,000 per annum for six months, and 1,500 is the cut suggested by Garda representatives.
The information is contained in Table 6 of the “Expenditure Report 2013” on page 132.
How much do you earn of the Week
It was slipped out just before Christmas and not covered on here, and in truth there is little in it that we didn’t know already, but above is an extract from the letter sent to the Committee of Public Accounts in December 2012 by the CEO of the NTMA, John Corrigan.
Text message of the Week
“Your account has just been credited with €30,000” Imagining of the texts that Aoife Quinn must have been receiving each month from Ocean Bank.
In the High Court this week, the latest installment in the Quinn family saga involved the questioning of the first of the Quinn children over the documentation and evidence provided by the Quinn family to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation – these hearings fit into the context of Anglo’s overall case against the Quinns as merely preliminary hearings to establish the documentation that exists in the case. This week, Aoife Quinn confirmed that she had signed what was described as an employment contract with three Russian companies which provided for an annual salary of €379,000 or just over €30,000 per month. Aoife neither understood the contract because it was in Russian nor did she keep a copy. The money was paid into a bank account each month at Ocean Bank and Aoife merely received texts to confirm the sums had arrived.
Remember that IBRC or Anglo is pursuing properties which were secured by loans advanced by the banks. IBRC is also trying to trace where the rental income on the properties has gone, and the contracts referred to above may ultimately provide clues during the main court hearing as to where that rental income has gone. Remember also that the many unanswered questions this week – like “what did Aoife do for the €379,000?” – should be addressed in the main hearing later this year.
What did Aoife do with the money? She told the court she may have spent it on legal fees but didn’t now have any documentation or receipts to support that claim. The case continues, and the other Quinn children will be quizzed in the coming week.
Video of the Week
The bondholders in Irish banks are generally hidden with their identities protected. Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan defends their anonymity by saying the banks don’t know the identities of the current bondholders, and that the information is held on a confidential basis by the bond clearing companies like Clearstrea. But this week in New York, a bondholder stuck his head above the parapet to boast about his success with recovering his investment in subordinated bonds at Bank of Ireland. David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management had invested in BoI’s bonds, and when BoI sought to impose a haircut, Appaloosa reacted by taking Bank of Ireland to court, and if you believe the charming David, he received full repayment from the bank.
At least next time, the identity of bondholders crops up, we have a name and a grinning face.
We have shovelled €4.8bn gross into Bank of Ireland, though we have received €3.7bn back (See below, which excludes the €1.056bn realized from the sale of the €1bn of Contingent Capital Notes in January 2013 – comprising €1.01bn for the CCNs and €46m for accumulated interest. The net cost of bailing out Bank of Ireland was outlined in a parliamentary question in December 2012,
Gig of the Week
Tonight at 8pm in Charleville in county Cork, there’ll be an event, the like of which, you’ll rarely see again. From 8pm sharp, a varied selection of economists, politicians and activists, a comedian and, what the organizers bill as a “special guest” will be informing and entertaining. The event is part of the marking of the 100th weekly bank bailout protest by the Ballyhea and Charleville communities – pictured above on a special protest in front of the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt. It’s free and is being held at the Charleville Park Hotel – they’d appreciate your support.
Unopened envelope of the Week
Newly-invigorated current affairs presenter, Miriam O’Callaghan was at the top of her game on Thursday as she quizzed Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney about the ungoing horse-infused-burger controversy – it doesn’t seem to have yet copperfastened the classification of “scandal” but elevation to that level might be imminent. On Thursday evening “just as he was coming out to meet” Miriam, Minister Coveney says he received the results from the latest analysis of a sample of beefburgers. Miriam quite rightly suggested that if the results were good or gave an all-clear, then the Minister would be eager to trumpet that good news to the world. Minister Coveney however looked shifty and 36 hours later we still don’t know what the latest results are, but suspicion is naturally enough growing that the results are not good.
The controversy took a turn for the worse this week with suggestions that the horsemeat which had seemingly been used in the preparation of the beefburgers may have contained medicines which might be carcinogenic, that is, having the potential to cause cancer. So the controversy has moved on from being a slightly humourous play on our sensibilities when it comes to the selection of animals to eat, to a health concern where the meat consumed might have contained nasties.
Larry Goodman, whose plants in Monaghan and Yorkshire are now firmly at the centre of the controversy, has been brought out of his self-imposed seclusion from the media, and pleaded his case to the Financial Times. Burger King stopped doing business with the Monaghan plant, which has in any event been temporarily closed down. Waitrose – upmarket food competitor to M&S in the UK – became the fifth British store to withdraw Goodman burgers, and in Oxfordshire there was some drama when a member of the public saw the offending Goodman burgers still on sale at Tesco.
Minister Simon Coveney has had an altogether plain-sailing tenure at the Department of Agriculture so far, but as this week comes to an end, he looks to be in danger of slipping on a giant banana as he still refuses to tell us the contents of the envelope.
Graph of the Week
You might be interested in the graphic representation of the latest extraction of data from the Property Price Register which shows that in 2012, volume of transactions grew from 2011 which indicates a degree of stabilization. But simple average price data shows that prices were generally below levels in 2011 – take the simple averages with a large grain of salt, no account is taken for different mixes of properties sold. This week, the Central Statistics Office recorded a decline in prices nationally in the month of December 2012, with Dublin houses in particular suffering. Stabilization in house prices might be some ways off yet.