Fit For A Banker


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From top: The new Central Bank, North Wall Quay, Dublin; Central Bank governor Philip Lane; Mr Lane’s new office.

A vulgar exterior.

Wait until you see inside.

Jounraist Ken Foxe writes:

It has already raised eyebrows with its dramatic gold-plated exterior … now the first details of what sits behind the façade of the Central Bank’s sleek new headquarters have been made public.

More than €23,000 has been spent on custom-made and boutique designer furniture for the office of the governor Philip Lane in the bank’s new building on Dublin’s North Wall Quay.

Records released under FOI reveal how Mr Lane’s personally customised desk will cost a cool €5,080 before VAT.

A sofa for his personal office – bought from the luxury furniture maker Lyndon Clarence – will set the taxpayer back €3,300, according to the records.

Two lounge chairs, each costing €1,582, were also purchased from the same design firm, who are based in Cheltenham in England.

….The governor’s office will occupy 55 square metres on the upper floor of the new building, a floor area larger than some smaller homes around Dublin. Mr Lane will also have a personal storage area, which will add another 6.5 square metres to his office.

The €23,000 bill for boutique and custom-made furniture for office of Central Bank’s governor (Ken Foxe)


72 thoughts on “Fit For A Banker

  1. Leopold Gloom

    Seriously, what is wrong with this country. The people who are supposed to be regulating are as bad if not worse than those they don’t properly regulate.

  2. dav

    The shell should have been left alone and the “bertie ahern, property bubble interpretive centre” opened in is shadow,

    1. missred

      Yeah, look at that pose. Anyone who stands with their feet that far apart just screams salubrious and that they possess a fine halo.

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          I believe memesy has offered himself up for judgement over on another thread.

          (doubtful, but a funny prospect)

      1. Shayna

        I was about to comment on Mr. Lane’s pose, but the halo reference got me thinking about hemorrhoid halo procedure. Perhaps the bespoke furniture is merely to accommodate a comfortable seating position. However, that clearly could have been settled for under a Tenner from a quick look on eBay.

  3. shitferbrains

    His office is on the second floor overlooking the entrance and the upper floors and the roof are for the rest of the staff. Ken Foxe is a bore at this stage.

  4. Jocky

    Here we go.
    1. Proper office furniture and proper furniture in general costs money. Yes, you have a a e200 couch from ikea but that is irrelevant.
    2. He is not some pleb doing data entry. He’s the head of the Central Bank which is big job.

    1. Daddy

      So you’re OK with big Taxpayer spends on making bankers feel luxurious but if someone gets a reduced rent council house, you’ll hate them to the pit of your Fine Gael stomach.

      1. Jocky

        I’d like his office and I’m sure many others would. If I work hard and am very good at myjob then I might get an office like it.
        It makes sense that the best people in the top jobs get the best perks.
        The simple message of communism that we’re all in this together has failed miserably everywhere.

        1. ahjayzis

          “If I work hard and am very good at myjob then I might get an office like it.”

          You clearly don’t work in Official Ireland.

          Where if you work dreadfully, waste millions of taxpayers money, and hang around long enough, you’ll get a fancy office in Europe.

        2. Seosamh

          He is a civil servant. He works for the state. His wages are paid from taxes. How on earth is this irrelevancy an advertisement for capitalism?

        3. Sam

          Oh, we were “all in it together” when it came to paying the bill for the banking scam, though.
          The pretence that the rules on mortgage lending doesn’t have a knock on effect on house prices is the same mentality that caused the last bubble. So, yeah… that “best people – top jobs” is bullshit.
          The guys who foresaw the bubble don’t get the top jobs. The guys who say “ignore the man behind the curtain” are the ‘safe pair of hands’.
          Banking has compliance rules, has done for a long, long time, because of previous crashes.
          Reducing the argument to clichés about ‘top person, top skills, top pay’ is fine for fairy tale hour, but don’t hold your breath waiting for me to swallow it.
          I spent long enough doing compliance checks to know different.

        4. collynomial

          It’s not taxpayer money. The central bank is self-funded from levies raised on the banking sector, plus profits made from open market operations.

  5. Jake38

    Is there now a defined maximal size for the office of a person with these kind of responsibilities? How was it arrived at? When will BS announce what it is?

  6. Happy Molloy

    it’s not gold plated, it’s aluminium and it was so the building could have a green status.

    3 grand ain’t much for a couch.

    Governor of the central bank is a huge brief, huge, I won’t begrudge a decent desk which isn’t even crazy money.

    Or maybe not could just get someone off the street to do the job, they could use an old school desk or something. That would be better than making governor of the central bank seem like a desirable position for those with the unique skill set and smarts.

    1. Daddy

      I know plenty of people in more stressful and important jobs who prefer far more modest surroundings. They find it focusses them on the job at hand. They keep the luxury for their own homes which they pay for out of their personal income.

        1. Daddy

          Do you not believe me or something?

          People like:

          1. A professional negotiator who worked in war zones (has a small office in an office park off the M50).
          2. A fund manager who controls a several million euro spread for charities around the world (works out of a converted shed in Coolock).
          3. A psychiatrist who transforms people’s lives (works from a tiny office where he researches and has written several theses).

          1. Jocky

            The head of the Central Bank is probably the top 10-20 most important job in this country or any country.

            I’m laughing at your fund manager with his fund of a few million. You’re deluded.

          2. Happy Molloy

            And the role of the governor of the central bank of Ireland has a bigger impact on the state than all of those put together. That’s not to take away from their respective importance.

            I don’t think any of the people you mentioned will be hosting the amount of people in their offices that the governor will either. You know, ECB officials, government ministers etc. A couch won’t break the bank.

    2. Sam

      That would be better than making governor of the central bank seem like a desirable position for those with the unique skill set and smarts.

      Unique skill set and smarts? What do you imagine they actually do up there (other than doing what the ECB tells them to do)?

      Overseeing payments is done by the admin staff – it’s not rocket science.
      Stability of the Financial System? – don’t make me laugh.
      Regulation of the Financial Sector? – pull the other one.

      If they want to recruit someone truly fit for the job, then it’s not the desk that will attract them, but confidence that the nod and wink days are behind us.
      They are not behind us, and never will be behind us, until there are consequences for the utter gangsterism that goes on.

      1. Happy Molloy

        It’s understandable that people can be cynical in relation to the central bank, financial regulation has failed in the recent past and they’ve a way to go to regain public confidence.

        But despite your cynicism, the role of governor of the central bank is, in fact, one which requires great skill and education.

        And having an office with moderately priced furniture, that is big enough to host an informal meeting or a working lunch, should be a fairly basic tool at the governors disposal.

        1. Sam

          My argument wasn’t about the furniture. I don’t give a toss about the furniture. It’s this idea that they have great skill.
          I spent years working in the financial sector, and no, they need to have a decent amount of cop on, and a decent education but great skill isn’t as much a requirement as ‘great connections’.
          The governor of the central bank is not tirelessly working away pulling levers to lubricate and correct the economy. We have a fairly hands off system, and one which is very open to political interference. If you want to tell us that there’s an independent, unshakeable hero of finance with amazing powers and impervious to the machinations of politicians, you might want to start your comments with “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

          1. Happy Molloy

            look at the governors stand on mortgages vs the governments. they’re at odds, which is good to see.

            it’s not like things can never change, if things were crap once it needn’t always stay the same and financial regulation is something we’re getting a hell of a lot better at. and can continue to do so, so it’s great to see resources being put in place.

          2. Sam

            so it’s great to see resources being put in place.
            Resources? The office, the superficial clutter inside it?

            Of course they disagree on some things. The number crunchers in the Dept of Finance also disagreed with the banking lobby about the desirability of lifting the cap on lending during a property bubble, but when the politicians wanted to please their buddies, it still happened, and the following year we all paid the price for that.
            It’s spine that is needed. To inspect where inspections are not welcomed and to say “we’re not f&*cking allowing that” when grasping hands ask for special treatment.

            “We’re getting better” can be said about any institution starting from a very, very low point. They have a lot to prove, and that’s the image they need to work on, not the shop window stuff.

          3. Sam

            I don’t like them because they don’t do their job properly. That’s not a trivial reason.
            You’re making no points other than labelling criticism as cynical and saying ‘ah sure they’ve learned from their mistakes’ – which they have not.

  7. Mr. Camomile T

    The RTÉ (apologist) report on the new building specifically stated of the gold cladding, “…and no, it’s not gold as some have claimed. It’s anodised aluminium.”

    Yes, it’s anodised aluminium. It comes in a variety of colours from light greys to deep blacks. You chose gold. Tone deaf.

    1. rotide

      When someone says “it’s not gold” about something that is not, in fact gold, they are being completely 100% factual.

      This isn’t being an apologist, or fake news, it’s what we who live in the real actual world call “facts”

    1. Daddy

      “dramatic gold-plated exterior ”

      Now every taxi driver is going to repeat that as if it really is Gold.

      1. Mr. Camomile T

        It’s not gold, it’s aluminium, but the material is available in a variety of other colours. Someone chose gold as the colour for this building. Was it the architect? Perhaps. Should someone with a modicum of common sense not have stepped in and said, “Maybe gold isn’t the best colour for this building, you know, given the ‘issues’ we’ve had in the very, very, very recent past?”

        1. Jocky

          They should have pebble dashed like some crap council house. Make our skyline that bit worse just to set the right tone.

        2. Happy Molloy

          The same people who complain about the lack of imaginative architecture.

          Just the type of people who endlessly complain tbh.

          Anyway, building turned out better than I expected, bar the outrage that the governor got a big office and won’t just work out of the canteen.

          1. Mr. Camomile T

            @Happy Molloy Can you not understand why cladding the Central Bank in a material that looks like gold might suggest a lack of appreciation for the public sentiment regarding all matters fiscal? I’m all for adventurous architecture, especially with public buildings, but cladding this building in gold was a poor decision by the collective responsible for it.

          2. rotide

            There are plenty of problems with the banks in this country and the CBs handling of them.

            The color scheme of the building it is based in is not one of them.

            Get some perspective.

    1. mauriac

      exactly.they’re basically a small back office for Frankfurt and could be housed in Ardee and no-one would care or notice.Also if you’re going to buy decent furniture (which is expensive)why not buy Irish?

      1. Frilly Keane

        there’s a few Central Bank Regulankers I’d love t’see shunted up ta’ Ardee

        or Aur’dee thur

  8. Frilly Keane

    and how much did John O’Donohue spend on curtains?


    Give over would ye,
    the Central Bank is minted at the moment, coining it in, the biggest money maker in the State
    give the lad a daycent office ffs

    I’m getting me own done this year
    And I’ve every intention of doing a daycent job on it if I’m doing 60+ hours a week in it

    sur look at Johnny Preposterous’
    twinkly lights n’everything

      1. Frilly Keane

        Well with a tidy upfront now in place for Frilly Friday
        And an appearance fee for the Telly – that includes wardrobe etc

        I’m able to push the boat out
        A bit

        1. Shayna

          “A tidy upfront … and an appearance fee.” – Oh, I thought BS was all about the love? Have you decided on your outfit for Thursday – not a Corcaigh GAA geansai?

        2. Shayna

          All the best for it anyhoos – you’re v.brave – stylist involvement or not, I’m sure you’ll look and be great!

  9. Kolmo

    Has it a nickname yet?

    “The Elizabeth Duke Box” is my modest proposal for an adjunct of the european central bank

  10. TheOtherGuy

    Now I know this isn’t going to go down well but…

    1. Doubtful he picked the furniture etc himself. At most he was probably given a list of things that were available and picked the things he thought were nice. I mean, not unreasonable.

    2. This is the office of the head of our Central Bank. He’s going to be entertaining other heads of Central Banks, the IMF, Government Ministers and officials from other states etc. You want him to have them sit on an IKEA sofa from which the ar$e has fallen out?

    3. People banging on about the banking crisis etc. Yeah sure the regulators were asleep at the wheel. He wasn’t there at that time though. Also, and this is the part I’ll get attacked for, how about some personal responsibility. No one forced us all to go mental and pay extortionate prices for apartments and properties. Owning a second home to rent out isn’t some sort of right. If you did that then it’s your own fault. Put your hand up. The builders built cause we’re all obsessed with owning our own property in this country. The prices went up cause we all wanted to buy these new builds and have a place to call our own. The banks aren’t on their own in the fault stakes.

    It’s like the water charges (oh sh!t he went there). People banging on about not paying 1c for any pipes etc. Sorry to break it to you, but you’re going to have to pay for them one way or the other. If we hadn’t all been baying for tax cuts during the good times then maybe our weak leaders might have put some of the money into putting a proper infrastructure in place.

    I’m not saying that the banks are blameless or that the regulators didn’t make a pigs ear of it, they clearly did, but along with your bitterness maybe try some self reflection and look at your own decisions and think was I financially sensible or did I accrue loads of personal debt because I wanted the highlife too?

    Just a thought.

    1. Sam

      “Also, and this is the part I’ll get attacked for, how about some personal responsibility. No one forced us all to go mental and pay extortionate prices for apartments and properties.”

      There’s a few things to point out about this.
      Firstly, the economy didn’t collapse because we were all buying overpriced houses. It didn’t collapse as a result of people defaulting on mortgages, that came later.

      Secondly, if you look at the rates of rent for some of the dumps out there, I don’t think choosing to buy a house is ‘the high life’. The people thinking they are entitled to live off of renting out 2nd, 3rd and more homes of crappy standard, sure, they are fair game for criticism, but the typical owner occupier wasn’t living ‘the high life’. The ‘we all partied’ mantra is about as useful as a job offer from Anglo Irish Bank.

      It was the banks and developers building a ridiculous amount of houses that they couldn’t sell, the costs of which were non-performing loans. Where is your criticism for them? Or do you just have a glib remark to gloss over it?

      Nobody forced the builders to build ghosts estates in the back of beyond. They did it because of greed.
      If John and Mary paid through the nose for a house it was because they were panicked by peer pressure, and the media stuffed with paid supplements urging us to buy before it got too expensive to get on the ladder.
      Yes, some foresight and fortitude could have helped them avoid getting stuck in that, but taking out a mortgage didn’t crash the economy, it just put John and Mary in debt.
      Nobody forced the banks to change the criteria for loans.
      In fact they were warned against it – repeatedly.
      The banks did what they did because of greed. The developers did likewise.
      That they did it on such a scale is breathtaking, unless they knew that somehow, the bill would be picked up by some other suckers.

      Property bubbles and banking crises have happened before. That’s why there were rules on the lending, and the risk profiles.
      These were deliberately ignored and over-ridden. That wasn’t John and Mary’s call. That was Bertie, Cowen, the Financial Regulator and the Central Bank, and a whole host of economists who RTE have on speed dial, and whose conflicts of interests are generally not disclosed during interviews.

      John and Mary may have been panicked into a stampede, but the property bubble was a scam born of greed and arrogance. The lack of responsibility and accountability at that end of it is still staggering.

  11. EightersGonnaEight

    So what? 23K is less than half of the average Garda’s overtime PA. Get a life. We need a Central Bank. We don’t need the Gardai overtime.

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