Tag Archives: launch

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The Public Accounts Committee is launching its report on the sale of Project Eagle.

Now.

The chair of PAC, Fianna Fail TD Seán Fleming said:

“The committee considers that it was not appropriate for Nama, as the contracting body, to meet with Cerberus representatives the day before the Project Eagle bid closing date. It could have given the perception that Cerberus was benefiting from preferential treatment.

“Also. The committee considers that it was not procedurally appropriate for the Minister for Finance [Michael Noonan] to meet with senior Cerberus representatives on the day before the Project Eagle bid closing date. This could have given the perception that Cerberus was benefiting from preferential treatment.”

Facebook live link here

Read the report here

Previously: ‘Not Appropriate’

Eagles, Vultures and Turkeys

UPDATE:

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From top: Daniel McConnell, of the Irish Examiner; Hugh O’Connell, of The Sunday Business Post, and Josepha Madigan, Fine Gael TD and member of PAC

You may recall how, on Sunday, February 12, in The Sunday Business Post, Hugh O’Connell and Jack Horgan-Jones reported on a draft working paper by the Public Accounts Committee into Nama’s sale of Project Eagle.

They reported:

The paper said it was “not appropriate” for the Department of Finance to meet with the ultimately successful bidder, Cerberus, in the days before the closing date for Project Eagle bids. It similarly states that it was “not appropriate” for Noonan or Nama to meet with Cerberus the day before the Project Eagle bid closing date – and that this could be perceived as “special treatment”.

This morning.

PAC’s report no longer states the Department of Finance and the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s behaviour was ‘not appropriate’. Instead, their behaviour was ‘not procedurally appropriate’.

Why was it changed?

From the press conference…

David Davin Power (RTE): “You found that Michael Noonan meeting Cerberus wasn’t ‘procedurally appropriate’ and I know there was a contention about that on the committee. Fine Gael members voting against it. But Michael Noonan says that he never had an adequate opportunity to respond to what was ultimately an adverse finding against him and that he’s been unfairly treated, effectively, by the committee.”

Sean Fleming: “Well, he said that, based on the original working document that said it was ‘inappropriate’ but the wording in the report published today refers to the procedures that allowed that meeting to happen. It was procedurally inappropriate. So it’s not quite the same as what was in the original report. And that word is there for a reason. Because this committee is precluded from finding specific fault against an individual person. And we’re looking at the process of that meeting, not specifically the person who attended. I would [inaudible] the distinction between the finding in relation to Nama, where we say it was inappropriate, because we were finding that the body, the corporate body of Nama, rather than that one person, acted inappropriately. But we can’t use that particular word due to legal restrictions, in relation to one individual.”

Davin Power: “But why did you seek to use that word if it was legally suspect in the first place…”

Fleming: “The committee never sought to seek that. There was a working document prepared after some 30,000 sheets of paper presented to the committee and after 11 public hearings. The committee never used that particular wording. The only wording that the committee settled on is the wording in the report.”

Davin Power: “Could you ask one of the Fine Gael members [of PAC] to respond to that point? Are you happy…[inaudible].”

Fleming: “Peter [Burke], if you’re happy?”

Peter Burke: “Thank you very much. First of all, I think to use the words ‘procedurally inappropriate’ is not fair. I would point out that the Minister did attend the PAC meeting, even though he’s not legally required to do so. He spent five hours under intense questioning. He brought forward all information and answers and answered everything very clear and concise and to see a situation whereby he was actually denied natural justice because the response that’s in the report is to a media leak which appeared on the Sunday Business Post. So, in other words, he never got due process or was questioned on the content of this assertion.

“And, to point out, Section 9 of the Nama Act is very clear. That it is independent in its functions in terms of its role with the minister and previous people have brought this up, including our chairman when the act was [inaudible] in the Dáil in 2009, in terms of to keep it outside of the realm of politics, I mean that was very, very important. And to suggest that it’s procedurally inappropriate, one has to ask: what is the procedure? And there is none. If the minister has clear legal separation and there is a former US secretary of the treasury coming over to Ireland to discuss, from banking to insurance to asset management, I think it would be unwise for any minister not to meet him.”

Later

Burke: “… the commercial activities of Nama are driven by the board. The minister has no role in this. And even, as a process, it was mentioned that the minister should have called off the sale, but at that time, he’d no legal power to do so. And there’s departmental legal advice, which was mentioned at the committee here, in relation to that.”

Daniel McConnell (Irish Examiner): “But are you not playing politics with it now? Are Fine Gael not playing politics with the PAC, for the first time in its history, in 94 years, you caused a vote at the PAC, purely to protect the standing of Michael Noonan?

Burke: “No, Danny, that’s not correct. If we look at this, in a fair and balanced fashion. If a minister, who is not legally obliged to attend the PAC, does so of his own free will, in the interest of fairness, in the interest of transparency, on foot of that, that he is denied the right to due process, to respond to a charge that was put to him, that he was never asked one single question on, I think that’s an incredible part of this report. That the minister was denied that right to respond to an assertion that he was never…”

McConnell: “So, who put it in the report initially then? Because this is important. Who put the initial finding of ‘inappropriate’ in the report? Was it a civil servant?”

Burke: “Here is a draft document

McConnell: “So a civil servant…

Burke: “…which was leaked to the Sunday Business Post…”

McConnell: “So it was a civil servant  who put it in, is that what you’re saying?”

Burke: “It was a draft document, I can’t answer that….”

Fleming: “I will answer that, and I will call on David Cullnane [Sinn Fein] next. I, as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, supervised directly, personally..”

McConnell: “So it was your, that was your, that was your language?

Talk over each other

Fleming: “…reporting in the first instance. What I do want to clarify, people mightn’t have go to it. We put a specific appendix in the report, on page 86, on the issue. We record fully and faithfully everything in respect of the minister’s response. First of all, in that, when we came to that issue of whether or not, at our meeting, and it’s all documented there [inaudible] we had three or four meetings, and Peter and his [Fine Gael] colleagues proposed wording to say, rather than it was ‘not procedurally correct’, to put the wording it was ‘not advisable’. So the board members were satisfied that the report should say it was ‘not advisable’ of the minister. That was voted down and the other wording was put forward.”

“But I just want to respond, before I call on David Cullinane, it was fortuitous in a way that there was a leak because that did give the minister to respond and the content of the letter received by the minister was examined closely by the parliamentary legal office in this house. And [inaudible] essentially responded to any allegations that we were about to make. Even though his letter came in before we concluded. And I do want to say, this is the transcript, the 82-page transcript of the meeting, of the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, the 6th of October 2016. And I have to say that that meeting, the minister and the people on his side were the only people aware in the room, at that time of the meeting with Cerberus. No member of the committee was aware that a meeting ever happened. And the minister gave no indication whatever of that meeting. To suggest we didn’t ask him something about which we knew nothing about is unusual. He had four and a half hours at the meeting when we invited him in to talk about the sale of Project Eagle. And he spent four and a half hours discussing it and made no reference to that meeting. And there is the transcript if people want to check it.”

Later

Hugh O’Connell (Sunday Business Post): “Do you think you may have dropped the ball, as a committee, in not asking him if he had met Cerberus? And secondly, when you did become aware of it, why didn’t you ask him about the meeting via correspondence?”

Fleming: “The answer to that is we didn’t drop the ball because we weren’t aware the game had happened. Right? No member of the PAC were aware, at the time, that that meeting…”

Josepha Madigan: “Sorry, that’s incorrect. It was subject to FOI, the minutes were actually given in correspondence on the 4th of November…the 8th of November [2015] to the committee, so they were fully aware of…”

O’Connell: “So, why then, did you not write to Michael Noonan and ask him: why did you have this meeting? And what was the purpose of this meeting?”

David Cullinane: “There was a note that was given to the committee under the Department of Finance that set out the official notes taken by officials, in terms of that meeting. And those notes clearly show that Project Eagle was raised and it was raised in the context of Cerberus raised and they were told that it would be best dealt with at a meeting later that day with Nama which we believe that was also inappropriate. So, there was reference to Project Eagle in that meeting. And…”

O’Connell: “Why didn’t you ask him then? Why didn’t the committee call him back in?”

Alan Farrell: “That’s entirely inaccurate…it is entirely inaccurate….you’ve got your dates mixed up, David.”

Previously: Spotlight Falls On Noonan (March 1, 2016)

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You may recall a post from last year in which Karen Harte and Jessica Maybury, of Girls like Comics, appealed for art and comic submissions for an anthology of stories and art about repealing the 8th amendment.

Well.

Next Tuesday.

The MINE Anthology will be launched at the Workman’s Club, Dublin, at 8pm.

Tickets are €8, or €5 for students/unwaged, with proceeds going to the Abortion Rights Campaign.

Previously: Mine of Information

rocket

An experimental probe launched by NASA from Alaska yesterday – off to measure nitric oxide in the polar sky.

Image by Jamie Adkins of the Poker Flat Research Range.

colossal

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On Thursday, January 19.

At the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

From 4pm to 5.30pm.

The launch of the book Austerity and Recovery in Ireland: Europe’s Poster Child and the Great Recession edited by William K. Roche, Philip J. O’Connell, and Andrea Prothero and published by Oxford University Press.

The book – which will be formally launched by the former Governor of the Central Bank Patrick Honohan – includes a chapter on housing by Rory Hearne, Cian O’Callaghan and Rob Kitchin.

A panel discussion, chaired by dean of the UCD College of Business Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, will also take place as part of the launch – involving John FitzGerald, of Trinity College Dublin; Stephen Kinsella, of University of Limerick; Theresa Reidy, of University College Cork and Mary Corcoran, of NUI Maynooth.

 

The free ticketed event is open to all. Those interested can register to attend here

Earlier: Judgements In Favour Of Vulture Funds Will Explode In 2017

Pic: Rob Kitchin

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This afternoon.

At Iveagh House in Dublin.

Belly dancer Azaria Starfire (top centre), all-Ireland champion Irish dancer Ann Marie Caden (top left) and all-Ireland champion hip hop dancer Tobi Omoteso (top right) at the launch of this year’s TradFest Temple Bar.

The 12th annual TradFest Temple Bar will take place from January 25 to 29.

TradFest Temple Bar

Leon Farrell/Rollingnews

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On Saturday.

Outside 4, Merrion Square, Dublin…

The opening of the Church of Scientology’s Irish office.

Donal Lynch, in yesterday’s Sunday Independent, wrote:

The question of how Scientology would transplant its cultish craziness into a leafy Dublin street was answered on Saturday afternoon as a small crowd of about 200 gathered to watch the ribbon cutting on the group’s new national affairs office on Merrion Square.

It was like a mini Mardi Gras with a sinister edge. A line of people waved Irish flags and sang as a small band played As The Saints Go Marching In. A cheer went up as party streamers ignited and the doors swung open to “the public” – which excluded any passers-by or members of the press, who were strictly barred from entering (journalists are thought of as ‘merchants of chaos’ by the church).

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Emer Sugrue, reported on The Irish Times online wrote:

I somehow found myself at the launch, almost by accident, through a friend who had received an invitation. Not there as a journalist, I was afforded an interesting insight into the strange world of Scientology and what it hopes to do here in Ireland.

Before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Church held a party in the Davenport Hotel around the corner from their new office. As I wandered into the lobby feeling more out of place than I have in my life, an American woman with a painfully wide smile greeted me asked me if I was there for the dancing. I was led to a room with food, drinks and a live swing band.

…Nothing in the room indicated this event had anything to do with Scientology, until you started talking to people. Almost no one in the room was Irish, and it was clear (from an overheard conversation) that many of them had been flown in from the US and the UK for the event. The National Affairs Office staff are all new too, they arrived from their respective countries just last week, according to a number of them I spoke to.

Chatting to someone whose business card described them as ‘The Way to Happiness Co-ordinator’, I was told about the plans for the new office. She explained that this would be a secular branch of the church, not trying to convert people but just helping with social issues. She particularly stressed that they would be fighting for our human rights, human rights we don’t even know we have.

Mardi Gras with a sinister edge as Scientologists open new Dublin HQ (Sunday Independent)

Inside the strange world of the Church of Scientology in Dublin (Emer Sugrue, Irish Times)

Pics: Killian Raynor (top three) and Church of Scientology

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This afternoon.

Buswells Hotel on Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

The launch of the Anti Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit (AAA/PBP) General Election 2016 ‘common principles’. To wit:

A new type of politics, based on people power
Real recovery for 99% means challenging rule of 1% – Apple should pay back taxes, establish minimum effective corporation tax rate of 12.5%, introduce Millionaire’s Tax and establish debt audit commission
Public investment to develop quality services & infrastructure, strategic enterprise and create decent jobs
Scrap austerity taxes and reverse austerity cuts
Fight for equality – repeal the 8th amendment, end discrimination by schools, separate church and state…

Fight, etc.

Top from left: Brid Smith Richard Boyd-Barrett, unidentified  Ruth Coppinger, John Lyons and Paul Murphy.

AAA-PBP Launches ‘Common Principles: Radical Alternatives & Real Equality’ (Anto Austerity Alliance)

Pic: Mark Coughlan

At the Green Party general election launch this morning.

Meanwhile…

There is tay.

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 Deborah McGuirk, left, and Shannen McDonnell, from Aer Lingus, on Sandymount Strand earlier today

This morning.

A leaning tower for ants?

Mark Stedman writes:

Aer Lingus has today announced details of its Summer 2016 short haul schedules from Dublin, Cork and Shannon which includes over 250,000 extra seats on popular sun routes. The airline has launched five new European destinations – Pisa, Murcia, Montpelier, Dusseldorf and Liverpool.

Save Poolbeg.

Aer Lingus announces new summer routes (UTV Ireland)

Rollingnews.ie

Oh.

H/T: Rossa McMahon