Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 00.10.05

John Barrymore as Beau Brummell and Independent TD Mick Wallace

Further to calls for a new dress code in the Dáil…

Martin McMahon writes:

Complaints have been made about male politicians who dress ‘inappropriately’ we are told. Like Batmen responding to a light in the sky, the Dail Committee on Procedures leaps to action discussing whether to penalise said offenders.

Instead of examining the prejudices and small minded biases behind such ‘holier than thou’ morally obtuse complaints, time and money is squandered pointlessly considering what action to take. 

Coincidentally, the origin of the Suit was deeply entrenched in pointlessly squandering time and money on meaningless peacockery. George Bryan “Beau” Brummell is credited with introducing the modern men’s suit, worn with a tie. 

Son of a middle class, middle ranking politician, Brummell was an unashamed social climber. During his time as a cornet (the lowest rank of commissioned officer) in the Tenth Royal Hussars, his dandy attire led to him being befriended by the future King George IV who introduced Brummell to high society.

Brummell spent extravagantly money he did not have in his attempt assimilate into gentlemanly society.  It wasn’t long before Brummell’s charade fell apart and owing thousands, he was forced to flee to France to avoid debtors prison.

He lived the remainder of his life in French exile, almost 25 years, where he eventually died penniless and insane from syphilis.

As the Dail Committee considers penalties for non suit wearing politicians, one can only laugh at their notion that a suit represents respectability.

A suit was, is and always will be, the attire of cheaters, charlatans and the morally corrupt.

Only difference is that now they enjoy massive pensions instead of syphilis in their retirement.

Martin blogs at RamshornRepublic

(Photo: Sam Boal/Rolling News/Archive via TessaGratton)

newbridge
shorthop

From top: Newbridge train station; the Short Hop Zone

When is a commuter town not a commuter town?

When the Dart says so.

Patricia Callinan writes:

The Labour Party in Kildare is running a petition seeking fair train fares for Newbridge commuters.

It currently costs €3.56 to travel from Heuston to Sallins.

It costs almost 4 times more (€15.05) to go the final 7 minutes to Newbridge – a very expensive 7 minutes of travel.

The reason: Newbridge is not in the official ‘Short Hop Zone’ (the Dublin area rail network) despite clearly being a commuter town in the Dublin area

Fight!

Sign petition here

Pic: Leinster Leader/ Irish Rail

Newstalkinm

tonygroves

From top: Newstalk and INM logo; Tony Groves

You have to ask yourself that if I wanted to sell something to myself, for more than it’s worth, in order to pay myself from the over-inflated price, would that be okay with the Companies Act?

Tony Groves writes:

Back in the Halcyon Days of the Celtic Tiger, I remember coming across a particularly complex (and not a little brilliant) version of the common practise of Cheque Kiting.

Cheque Kiting, for those of you unfamiliar, is where an individual has two (or more) accounts in different banks. He writes a cheque to himself (this first cheque is called the kite) from Bank A and lodges it into Bank B.

The following day (taking advantage of Bank B’s lax clearing system) writes a cheque to himself from Bank B and lodges it to Bank A.

These artificial funds are then lodged; allowing the first cheque to clear. The cycle then repeats, typically escalating the amounts until he is either caught, cleans out the accounts and runs, or lodges legitimate funds to cover the Kite.

The case I came across was based on the circular kite model, but due to the involvement of several individuals (over 10) and spread across every retail bank in the country at that time it was not easily discovered.

The seemingly reasonable monies involved in the cheques, the various clearing cycles of the banks and the fact that there was several people involved made detection next to impossible for any one bank. It really was well constructed and went on for months.

When the fraud was eventually spotted (due to address irregularities) and the kites crashed to earth, the Banks had been taken for several thousand euro. It really was a significant amount of money and I’m not sure any of the participants were ever brought to justice.

I recall seeing the last transactions on one accounts involved; it was a Laser Card purchase in Dublin Airport. So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu…

When I read earlier how Independent News and Media Chief Executive Robert Pitt had made a Protected Disclosure regarding Denis O’Brien’s attempts to sell a company he owns (Newstalk, part of his Communicorp empire) to a Company (Independent News & Media) where he is the major shareholder, I had a flashback.

We know very little about the deal. But I suspect a Protected Disclosure wasn’t made lightly.

Whatever was in the Disclosure seems to have triggered the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement’s involvement.

It is also well known that the two parties could not agree on the price, with INM wanting to pay less than Communicorp are asking for.

We also understand from reports that if the higher price had been be agreed, Denis O’Brien stood to receive a “significant payout”.

I don’t want to go into the individuals involved and their links with Mr O’Brien, they are available here.

But I do wonder about company law, specifically the laws around conflicts of interest and the Fitness & Probity Standards.

You have to ask yourself that if I wanted to sell something to myself, for more than it’s worth, in order to pay myself from the over-inflated price, would that be okay with the Companies Act?

Even if it is legal, are the conflicts of interest not such that it would call into question individual’s fitness to operate public broadcasting licences?  I don’t know. Nobody is really saying what did or did not nearly happen.

We know there was a falling out. We hear rumours of resignations. None of it looks good from a Corporate Responsibility viewpoint. Particularly given Denis O’Brien’s ability to have a “chilling effect” on democracy.

There are many kites floating out in the air here. Like all complex kites the cords become tangled and it’s difficult to know who caused the entire thing to crash to earth. I still laugh at the audacity of the Cheque Kite I was caught out by.

I look regularly agog at the audacity of Denis O’Brien, none more so than in his attempt to sell his company to his other company. What has all this got to do with Cheque Kiting? Maybe nothing; it just makes you think, doesn’t it…

Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld

860499bd5cf47337ee0e93b8f0d3156cdcdc8c2b7ec257f634e3763022366ed3_3914687Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 15.13.36

The Irish Times reports:

A knife-wielding assailant who stabbed a policeman inside the perimeter of Britain’s parliament has reportedly been shot by police.

There was a major security alert at the Palace of Westminster in London after a man apparently carrying a knife charged through the gates into the front yard of the parliamentary compound.

After the incident, two people were seen to be lying within Old Palace Yard, immediately outside Westminster Hall.

Meanwhile, a number of injured people were seen lying injured on Westminster Bridge near parliament. It is understood a car hit a number of people near the bridge.

Knifeman reportedly shot by police at House of Commons (The Irish Times)

Pic: Sky News