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SPOT THE DIFFERENCE 3709
StD-3709
CRICKET IRELAND JOHN DELANEY
Responsible for wickets Responsible for sticky wickets 
Train batsmen Trained to bat away questions
Once beat Pakistan Enjoying Indian summer
Rain affects their matches His reign will never end
Balls made of cork Makes a balls of everything
Play one day internationals Playing for time

deAn - ICU

ANNE HARRIS & DENIS O’BRIEN’S ‘CONTROL’
Anne Harris

“A JADED CANARD laid to rest” was how Anne Harris described Denis O’Brien’s approval of the INM sale in today‘s Irish Times indicating, she claimed, that this proved he had controlled the company all along, despite vigorous denials.

In fact, the sale’s approval was a result of not only O’Brien’s but also Desmond’s endorsement. No matter. Harris had a particular grievance arising from an article that she wrote — as Sunday Independent editor — and which was heavily ‘edited’ (ie, censored) by then group-editor-in-chief, Stephen Rae in later editions of the Sindo that Saturday night. Chief among the changes was the deletion of a sentence stating, “in practice he does (control INM)”.

Continue reading

IN PRAISE OF GERRY’S GIRLS

Goldhawk had previously got by without being exposed to “Ireland’s Kardashians”, the late Gerry Ryan’s three daughters. Thankfully, the Irish Mail On Sunday’s ‘Magazine’ stepped up last weekend to remind shed some light on the siblings.

The article told through the lens of the Instagram accounts of  three girls – Lottie, Bonnie and Babette. Journalist Niamh Walsh was clearly impressed by the trio:

“Rather than shunning the life that their father loved and embraced, his three daughters … have instead followed cautiously into the public realm of the Insta-set, albeit with a wisdom and insight that others have failed to grasp.”

Impressive stuff alright. Moreover, “Some images show brief snaps of their beautiful period home in Clontarf, but there are no brash displays of privilege.” Continue reading

AIRBNB’S BIG WIN

What has been hailed as a ‘big win’ for Airbnb this week at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) may well spell further discomfort for Ireland. The case, originating with France’s hotel federation and taken up by prosecutors, argued that Airbnb should be also bound by regulations governing standards in the accommodation industry.

The country is Airbnb’s second-largest market, after the United States, with almost 65,000 listings in Paris alone. The world’s most visited city is feeling the effects of short-term letting, where Airbnb is already subject to restrictions similar to those promised by Minister Eoghan Murphy in June.

At Europe’s highest court, the company successfully argued that rather than being considered a real estate broker, Airbnb’s activities should be regarded as an “information society service” under the terms of the European E-Commerce directive –  thus evading France’s standards on property management. Continue reading

EURO ELECTION DIARY #1

 

With an unprecedented number of new candidates in the running, Irish politics is set for a fresh injection of new blood. The first of many hard lessons came early as the experienced and wily covered the country in posters a day before the law permits.

In other rule flouting news, ESB Networks have issued a warning that posters on electricity poles are strictly prohibited due to the threat of fire as well as creating blind spots for traffic.

Outrage in Wexford as 17 Aontú posters disappeared within 4 days of being erected. When a rival candidate was found up a ladder last Saturday morning with a pair of clippers in hand, they claimed to be merely “straightening” them. Continue reading

HELEN DIXON’S AWARD

CONGRATULATIONS are in order for Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon, who was in Washington DC last night to receive an award for ‘distinguished public service’. The honour was bestowed by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) as part of a 10th birthday bash at the swanky LINE Hotel. 

The FPF, an industry backed advocacy group, styles itself as “a nonprofit organization that serves as a catalyst for privacy leadership” which aims to “fill the void in the “space not occupied by law”. A void they claim “exists due to the speed of technology development”  rather than say, aggressive political lobbying.

Funding is derived: “58% from corporations and 38% from foundations” where top donors, include familiar faces like Apple, Facebook and LinkedIn which are all presently facing investigation by Dixon’s office. Other corporate supporters under Irish regulation include: Intel, Pfizer, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and PwC. Continue reading

DAVID HEALY’S ‘COLD-BLOODED BUSINESS ARSON’

 

SPARE A thought for Goldhawk’s old friend David Healy. Yesterday, it emerged that the Cork businessman would be sent to the slammer for burning down his own premises and lodging a false insurance claim.

Healy (48), of Tig na Mona, Rathankar, Passage West, Co. Cork, had plead not guilty to arson that caused over €200 grand worth of damage at Munster Air Compressors, at which he was company director, in December, 2014. Last May, a jury found him guilty of arson, he plead guilty to a second charge of attempted deception in January, 2015.

Healy was handed a 10-year suspended sentence and fined €33k by Judge Gerard O’Brien last May. However, the Court of Appeal yesterday found that sentence to be “unduly lenient” with Counsel for the DPP, Ray Boland BL, saying Healy’s actions were “cold-blooded business arson” which involved significant planning and premeditation.

Read the background to the story here for free.

NO SIGN OF SINN FEIN EXILES JOINING FORCES
Carol Nolan

PIC: Carol Nolan

There is no sign former Sinn Féin TD Carol Nolan following fellow exile Peadar Tóibín on his new adventures. While the Aontú brand seems like a natural home for Nolan, she reckons her chances of being re-elected are better as an independent.

In recent months, she has been working with independents Michael Collins and Mattie McGrath in a number of meetings between gardaí, KBC and Jerry Beades, founder of ‘The New Land League’.

Nolan also had an opportunity to rub shoulders with senior US politicians last month, when herself and Mattie McGrath were flown to Washington DC by an Irish anti-abortion group.

The Offaly TD will have an uphill battle to retain her job when the constituency is merged with Laois at the next election, where Sinn Féin already have a seat in Brian Stanley and Nolan failed to take many with her on the way out.

DUP AND SF TO DEVOUR RIVALS
John Finucane

PIC: SF candidate John Finucane

Observers will be watching the north’s local elections for answers to a series of political questions. Will Sinn Féin suffer for their abstentionist policy at Westminster? Will the DUP suffer for their support of Brexit in the face of opposition from business and agricultural interests? How far will the SDLP slump after a bad two years? How will Peadar Tóibín’s new Aontú anti-abortion party do?

Find out more in the latest issue. 

TRIONA MULLANE & DENIS O’BRIEN
Triona Mullane

THERE WAS good news for mobile advertising tech businesswoman Triona Mullane last week when she landed a nomination for EY Entrepreneur of the Year award in the emerging category. She may be better known to some as a director of Independent News and Media (INM), whose ties to one Denis O’Brien landed her in the spotlight.

Back in 2014, before whistleblower Robert Pitt was appointed CEO of INM in October that year, Vincent Crowley had been in the hot seat but he had stepped down in May, leaving a hole to be filled until the arrival of Pitt from Tesco. As a result, INM announced on May 19, 2014 that “a sub-committee of the board, consisting of [chairman] Leslie Buckley, Triona Mullane, Allan Marshall and Terry Buckley, will assume responsibility for the management of the group pending the appointment of a new CEO.”

This sub-committee was therefore in place for around five months and it was on its watch that the high profile alleged data breach of Indo hacks’ emails occurred. There has been no claim whatsoever that the subcommittee members were aware of any breach and the “data interrogation” that was subsequently alleged to have taken place outside the jurisdiction. (The ODCE also claims that the whole process was directed by Leslie Buckley, who denies this, and was paid for by a Denis O’Brien-linked company, Blaydon Ltd, registered in the Isle of Man.)Continue reading

RUTH MORAM’S ‘ABUSE OF PROCESS’

 

ANOTHER chapter in the remarkable legal saga involving Ruth Moram and the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ireland was written in the Court of Appeal recently. The scrap goes back a number of years to when she was ‘disfellowshipped’ – ie shunned – from the church’s congregation in Killarney in 2004.

Read more in the latest issue. 

And you can read some background to this long-running sage here for free. 

DREW HARRIS CROSS-BORDER SECURITY
Drew Harris

Elite and heavily armed units of the PSNI cruising around Dublin is a steep step change in policing here in the south. But this is the reality under Garda commissioner Drew Harris’s command and it has not gone down well with gardaí at senior level as well as the rank and file. 

Read more about Harris and his PSNI pals in the latest issue. You can also gawk at Goldhawk’s profile of the ‘Jeepgate’ star here for free. 

RABBITTE FEELS UNLOVED
Anne Rabbitte

FIANNA FÁIL’S two-candidate strategy in the Midlands-North-West (MNW) EU constituency – the, er, ‘dream ticket’ of Brendan Smith and Anne Rabbitte – is already strained, with the Galway East TD, Rabbitte, emoting all over twitter about being disregarded by her party colleagues. 

Read all about it in the latest issue hot of the press. 

And you can find out why FF’s constituency committee decided to add Rabbitte the ticket here free of charge. 

CATHERINE’S RICH RECIPES
Catherine Fulvio

NEXT MONTH ‘celebrity chef’ Catherine Fulvio dons her glad rags (Irish designers were frothing at the bit) and flies off to southern California for the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. It represents the most high-profile coup for the media-savvy businesswoman.

Read more about Fulvio in the latest issue. 

HSE PAUL REID’S RADICAL PAST
Paul Reid

WHAT AN interesting journey the new €300,000-salaried HSE director general, Paul Reid, has travelled since the days of his firebrand activism in politics and the trade union movement.

Find out more about Reid in the latest issue out now. 

ABBEY BOARD’S SCRIPT
Frances Ruane

PIC: Frances Ruane 

GOLDHAWK was interested to know how the Abbey board reacted to last year’s decision by the Arts Council to withhold a chunk of funding until it sorted out its employment conditions for cast and crew brought in.

Find out more in the latest issue out now. You can also read about more drama at the Abbey here free of charge. 

TAXING TIMES FOR MARTIN TUBRIDY

 

THE TAXMAN has finally lost his patience with Clare businessman Martin Tubridy. A petition to wind up his construction and civil engineering company, GMD Developments Ltd, has just been filed in the High Court by the Revenue following numerous dust-ups with the Cooraclare businessman.

Read more in the latest issue. 

And you can read even more about the Clare publican here for free. 

REVIEW: THE GHOST FACTORY – JENNY McCARTNEY (4th ESTATE)
The Ghost Factory - Jenny McCartney

WITH NO apparent end in sight to fictional accounts of the Troubles, it’s not surprising that this debut novel revisits familiar ground. The author now works as a journalist in London, but grew up in Northern Ireland (her father, Robert McCartney, was a former leader of the UK Unionist Party).

Read the full review now

AIDAN EAMES’S CLIENTS
21/07/2014 Aidan Eames of Eames Solicitors, reading a statement from Angela Kearns to the media outside the Four Courts yesterday(Mon) after a High Court hearing.Pic: Collins Courts

THE MOST influential man in the room at the recent Oireachtas Committee on Sport hearing was not Football Association of Ireland (FAI) demoted executive John Delaney, committee chair Fergus O’Dowd TD nor even FAI president Donal Conway. Legal Svengali, solicitor Aidan Eames sat silently throughout the hearing, but his experience and advice on the Oireachtas committee’s powers, or lack of them, was the crucial element in Delaney’s confident refusal to answer any pertinent queries about his generosity towards his employers.

Read more in the latest issue out now. 

HEEEE’S OUTTA HERE!
Nick Lockwood

PIC: Nick Lockwood

RELATIONS between Ireland and the US may have been slightly dented by an incident last week at Dublin Airport, which saw a baseball coach given his marching orders as his visit turned into a surprise home run.

Read more in the latest issue. 

JOHN GLEESON’S NEW PLOT
John Gleeson

THE ACCOUNTANCY profession has expanded significantly since the financial services sector was freed of its old-fashioned, fusty reservations. And with riskier business came the ‘forensic’ accountant – a sort of money pathologist who could pick over a corporate corpse and divine how it came to a sorry end.

Read more in the latest issue. 

DECLAN MCDONOGH’S DEMOTION
Declan McDonogh

THIS TIME of year, as the flat season gets into full swing, a few jockeys sometimes get promoted – or vice versa – and one who is getting a rough ride is Declan McDonogh.

Read more in the latest issue out now. 

MICHAEL McDOWELL’S FREE MEDIA PLATFORMS
Michael McDowell

DUBLIN BAY South TDs Jim O’Callaghan and Kate O’Connell must have been chewing their carpets at the flattering exposure granted to former minister and attorney general, Senator Michael McDowell, by the state broadcaster in recent weeks.

Read more in the latest issue out now. 

And you can read Goldhawk’s March 2019 profile of McDowell here for free. 

DISCIPLINING CIARÁN DESMOND
Ciaran Desmond

MORE on Ciarán Desmond, the legal eagle and financial adviser at the centre of a high-profile court case involving allegations of fraud and “secret profits”.

And you can read even more about Desmond’s many talents here for free. 

THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN

THREE MONTHS after exiting the Sunday Business Post, Tom Lyons has got his new media business up and running in conjunction with his former boss (and RTÉ board member), Ian Kehoe, who exited the SBP in August last year. The good news is that the two boys are taking themselves very seriously and are advertising for hacks (Emmet Oliver might be getting nervous) who “want to work for an outlet that places journalism at the heart of its mission”. 

The new venture is called The Currency and will focus on business. Speaking of which, who will be funding the fledgling operation? At this stage, it is not clear where any backing is coming from, although Lyons might know a relative with a few bob given that he happens to be a nephew of moneybags Pearse ‘Alltech’ Lyons, who died last year.

Lyons and Kehoe have set up an office on Fitzwilliam Street, D2, in the same building as architecture and design practice LyonsKelly, where Tom’s interior designer brother, Eoin Lyons, is a founder. The business hacks have also incorporated two separate limited companies to hold their stakes in the new publishing business: TLLA Investments Ltd is named using the initials of its two directors, Tom Lyons and his wife, advertising executive, Lynne Andrews, while the same naming method was used for Mgik Ltd, where the directors are Ian Kehoe and his wife, accountant Miriam Galvin.

To be based on a subscription-based model, The Currency will be entering an increasingly crowded digital news market, where the likes of TheJournal.ie has splurged on online news. Despite the very deep pockets of its Daft.ie owners, Journal Media has recently turned to Google to seek help in funding its investigations.

Maybe Tom and Ian can pick up the phone to the Mountain View California to get some info on Google’s ‘Digital News Innovation Fund’. Like the two boys, Google also claims to have a mission – one “inherently tied to the reporting of journalists and news organisations”.

Sounds spiffing.

ALBERT MANIFOLD’S €8 MILLION
Albert Manifold

NOT TOO surprising to see former Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher defending the whopping €8m remuneration package of CRH’s chief executive, Albert Manifold. This is an eye-watering sum, especially for a CEO who has just delivered an annual report that features a number of negatives for 2018, a year during which the share price dropped 25%.

Although Manifold’s record in CRH has been impressive, particularly in terms of divestments and acquisitions, the latest results show problems in Asia, where CRH’s only major wholly-owned operations are in The Philippines. The returns here have been awful, even dropping into losses (€14m) last year.

The big problem, however, has been in the European distribution division, which had been doing well, but last year suffered a significant collapse in adjusted operating profits of 46%. CRH now appears to have placed this division quietly on the market (still unconfirmed) and business hacks have been briefed with a €2bn price tag based on earnings. This is at least €1/2bn more than it might actually be worth, given that last year’s earnings included the Benelux DIY division that was sold off last July.

Happily for Manifold, the head of the remuneration committee, Boucher, was more than impressed with the CEO’s performance, describing him as “very good”. And, it is not only Manifold who is doing alright for himself at CRH. Chairman Nicky Hartery earned almost €600,000 in 2018, which must look very tempting to Boucher – a strong contender to take over from Hartery, who has been on the board for 15 years.

And you can read more about Manifold and CRH here for free. 

COMPETITION WINNER

Congratulations to Graham Saunders! The winner of our photo caption competition. Graham you’ve won 4 Flexi Tickets* for the Punchestown Festival Reserved Enclosure + €100 spending money!

REGINA DOHERTY’S PATERNITY ‘SOLUTION’

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL PROTECTION Regina Doherty hasn’t made any friends among the new Dad community this week. Regina has claimed that the reason for the low up-take of paternity leave among fathers has absolutely nothing to do with cash.

Rather, Doherty has said that there is a “narrative that the value of money associated with the scheme isn’t enough for men to take off work”. “It doesn’t seem to have stopped women from taking maternity leave,” she added.

The “value of money” the minister is referring to is the €245 weekly payment that the state provides Dads who take paternity leave. This figure can be voluntarily topped up by the man’s employer, shockingly two-thirds of employers aren’t currently doing this.

Regina, who earns a whopping €157,000 a year, has yet to answer quite how she expects new Dads to be able to live off the weekly payment, considering she admitted back in 2017 that she couldn’t live on the dole.

“I don’t know where people get the view that people who are living on welfare are living the life of Riley because, Jaysus, I couldn’t live on €198 a week, and that’s being honest,” the Finglas native said.

You can read more about “the most ambitious woman in the Dáil” and her business ‘acumen’ here for free.

FINNEGAN’S BREAK

THREE MONTHS after advertising for a replacement for James Hickey as CEO of Screen Ireland, the job has gone to Désirée Finnegan of Warner Brothers Pictures. While her name appeared to come out of the blue for many observers, the least surprising aspect of the appointment is surely the gender of the new film boss.

Last December, a Dáil question from FF John Lahart on the gender balance among staff in the various agencies in the arts and culture field revealed quite a few in which balance was most noticeable by its absence, with Screen Ireland at the top of the table. Impressively, over 80% of those employed by Screen Ireland were female, although at head office the percentage was even higher.

The arrival of Finnegan will push the balance of female cast members in the Galway headquarters to 90%, which may well be a record. Finnegan’s right hand woman will be deputy chief executive Teresa McGrane, while the two suits of the male persuasion listed on the film agency’s website are Cian McElhone (business affairs manager) and Steven Davenport (inward production manager).

When the post was advertised (see The Phoenix 25/1/19), Goldhawk noted that an outcome other than the appointment of a woman to succeed Hickey “would be a real surprise ending”. Certainly, the odds on any other result were pretty long given that female candidates have landed all the top arts and culture jobs filled since the start of last year – in Imma, the Heritage Council, the Irish Heritage Trust, the Crawford Art Gallery, the National Museum of Ireland, the Hunt Museum, and Kilkenny Arts Festival.

Désirée Finnegan brings plenty to her new leading role and is an experienced player in the movie business, most recently as senior vice president, theatrical marketing & publicity for Europe, the Middle East and Asia at Warner Bros. In her time at the US studio (she joined in 2004) Finnegan worked on campaigns for high profile movies such as Dunkirk, The Lego Movie, the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy and the Harry Potter franchise.

At Screen Ireland, she will need to get used to films with slightly less impact.

CRIME DOES PAY
Paul Williams

The International Fraud Prevention Conference, organised by ex-INM group editor Stephen Rae and his best buddy and colleague, Paul Williams, formerly of Newstalk, has a dramatic ring to it. 

Read more about it in the latest issue out now. And you can peer at Goldhawk’s profile of the Indo’s resident crime fighter here for free. 

SEAMUS ROSS’S RETURN
Seamus Ross

WITH A rejuvenated Sean Mulryan enjoying such high-profile success this year after his long hiatus, the developer’s re-engagement with the sport is being classed as a barometer for the health of the property development and construction sectors.

Read more in the latest issue. 

‘AMAZING’ SAUDI REFORMS

Interesting to spot in the Indo today, via Bloomberg, that HSBC chief John Flint says he’s “excited about the role that we [HSBC] can play here.” The exuberant Flint was speaking at the high-profile ‘Financial Sector Conference’ held in the medieval kingdom’s capital, Riyadh.

Flint was one of many potential investors that skipped a conference last year after the Saudi’s, most likely orchestrated by the great reformer Mohammad Bin Salman, otherwise known by the cool western-sounding acronym ‘MBS’ to his mates, lured journalist Jamal Khasoggi to the country’s consulate in Istanbul before brutally murdering him and reportedly dissolving his body in acid. His remains have yet to be found.

“This is an economy we have a lot of confidence in. I think the future is bright,” espoused Flint. His sentiments were echoed by Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock (the largest money-management firm in the world), who hailed the “amazing” reforms in the kingdom.

Presumably, neither Flint nor Fink paid much attention to one example of these ‘reforms’: the Saudi’s mass execution of 37 men by beheading on Tuesday, one of whom’s decapitated body was crucified in a bid to send a message to others.

You can read more about the Saudis and how they silenced the Irish government here for free.

POLICING AUTHORITY REPORT 2018
Charlie Flanagan

PIC: Justice Minister, Charlie Flanagan 

THE POLICING AUTHORITY report 2018 found “significant” concern at low crime detection – ie, assaults up; detection of assaults down. Also, senior gardai don’t even see need for “culture” change. Solution? Abolish Policing Authority.

Read Goldhawk’s 2018 profile of Charlie Flanagan here to find out more. 

MARTIN SUPPORTS EU ARMY
Micheál Martin

A STRAINED silence emanated from Fianna Fáil following the revelation that Fine Gael successfully blocked its EU grouping, the European Peoples Party (EPP), from inclusion of support for an EU army in its EU-wide election manifesto. Is this because FF’s EU partners, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), proposes a similar goal in its EU election manifesto?

Read more in the latest issue out now. 

And you can read more about the “loud silence following the revelation that Fine Gael persuaded their European Peoples Party (EPP) colleagues to drop its EU election manifesto proposals for an EU Army,” here for free. 

YOUNG BLOOD: MARIA WALSHE
Maria Walshe

IF FINE GAEL’S cosmopolitan leadership could manufacture a candidate under laboratory conditions, the result would probably look a lot like former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh (31). 

Read more about the Euro election hopeful in the latest issue of The Phoenix. 

You can also read Goldhawk’s profile of FG leader Leo Varadkar, back when he was but a Young Blood in 2006, below for free.