I am deeply honored to be elected as the new President of the #Eurogroup. I look forward to working with all of my Eurogroup colleagues in the years ahead to ensure a fair and inclusive recovery for all as we meet the challenges ahead with determination pic.twitter.com/9k8EQfWSJa
— Paschal Donohoe (@Paschald) July 9, 2020
The Department of Finance announces:
The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, has today (Thursday) been elected as President of Eurogroup of Finance Ministers, succeeding Portugal’s Mario Centeno. His term will commence on 13 July, and he will serve for 2.5 years in the role.
Minister Donohoe was elected by his fellow Euro Area Finance Ministers at a meeting of the Eurogroup held by video conference. The other candidates were Minister Nadia Calviño of Spain, and Minister Pierre Gramegna of Luxembourg.
The Eurogroup is the body through which Finance Ministers of the 19 Euro area Member States take decisions on policy issues relating to management of the Euro area economy. Finance Ministers of the eight Member States who are not part of the Euro area frequently attend meetings given the importance of the issues under discussion.
The Eurogroup President has a vital role in shaping the agenda and policy response to major economic issues, including the economic impact of the present COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Donohoe is one of the longest-serving EU Finance Ministers and members of the Eurogroup.
— The New Hanseatic League (@HansaInTheEU) July 9, 2020
Agenda includes the economic & budgetary situation in the euro area, a presentation by @EFB_EU on the assessment of the appropriate fiscal stance and the election of the new Eurogroup President. pic.twitter.com/RlMeufK2NN
— Department of Finance (@IRLDeptFinance) July 9, 2020
— Frank Armstrong (@frankarmstrong2) July 9, 2020
A fascinating half hour with dialect coach Erik Singer in which he analyses the accuracy of twenty eight Actors Playing The President Of The United States. To wit:
How close was Josh Brolin to capturing George W. Bush in W.? Is Jay Pharoah’s version of Obama true to life? Is it even possible for an actor to accurately portray George Washington?
From top: President Michael D Higgins Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry; Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy
At the Public Accounts Committee.
PAC member Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry raised an allowance of €317,000 that the person holding the office of the President of Ireland is entitled to per year.
The committee was told the figure was set by statutory instrument in 1998, when Mary McAleese was president.
It was also told the €317,000 annual allowance is not audited, not taxed and doesn’t need to be surrendered.
From this morning’s proceedings…
Marc Mac Sharry: “Can I ask the C&AG, are you aware of an amount of €325,000 per year in the president’s establishment – the detail of which is not open for you to audit.”
Seamus McCarthy: “Yeah, I think it’s something less than that. I think the official salary of the president is…”
MacSharry: “No, no, not the salary, I’m not talking about salaries at all. And I don’t want to talk about the president either.”
McCarthy: “No, yeah, I’m aware of the other allowance which is…”
MacSharry: “So what is that?”
McCarthy: “It is…”
MacSharry: “How much…”
McCarthy: “I don’t have the figure off hand. It’s paid through the finance accounts, the Central Fund of the Exchequer.”
MacSharry: “Do you know what amount that is, per year?”
McCarthy: “I don’t, I don’t think so deputy…”
Sean Fleming [chairman]: “What the title?”
MacSharry: “I don’t think it has a title. That’s why I’m trying to get some answers. I asked the C&AG are you aware of an amount of money, in or around €325,000 per year, I’m not talking about salaries here. Which is not open to the C&AG…”
McCarthy: “It’s a payment, I think, for 2017, the figure is €317,000.”
McCarthy: “It’s a payment under the Presidential Establishment Act 1938 as amended.”
MacSharry: “Ok. So the Presidential Establishment Act, a payment under that, of €317,000, in terms of 2017…”
McCarthy: “It’s an allowance.”
MacSharry: “That’s an allowance for the president. Sorry, so that, so it’s renumeration then is it?”
McCarthy: “No, well, it’s an allowance. Yeah. It’s not pensionable.”
MacSharry: “Right. It’s not a salary.”
McCarthy: “It’s not a salary, it’s an allowance.”
MacSharry: “It’s an allowance.”
McCarthy: “An allowance.”
MacSharry: “And you don’t audit that?”
McCarthy: “I don’t audit that. I audit the issuing of the payment from the Central Fund.”
MacSharry: “You audit the issuing. So what’s involved in auditing the issuing of…”
McCarthy: “Ensuring that the amount that’s paid over is not in excess of the amount that is provided for in law.”
MacSharry: “And in this act, if we look it up, does it say €317,000 or how’s that amount…”
McCarthy: “A statutory instrument from 1998 set the figure at €317,000 and it hasn’t changed since 1998.”
MacSharry: “Ok. Do you know the number of that statutory instrument by any chance?”
MacSharry: “Ok. €317,000 per year. You’re saying it’s an allowance but it’s not renumeration. So, in ten years, that’s €3.2million or thereabouts?”
McCarthy: “Obviously, yeah.”
MacSharry: “Do you know what it’s used for? Does that act prescribe…”
McCarthy: “No, it doesn’t prescribe what it’s use for…”
MacSharry: “Ok. So. €317,000 per year allowance, not audited, we don’t know what it’s used for and it’s not prescribed in law. Is that correct?”
McCarthy: “The purpose is not prescribed in law.”
MacSharry: “It’s purpose meaning it’s use – what it’s used for?”
McCarthy: “Other then that it is a payment that can be made to the president, that’s what the law says.”
MacSharry: “What we have – €317,000 per year, provided under an act, we don’t know what it’s for, it’s an allowance. We don’t know what it’s purpose is for, it could be spent, theoretically, on anything, it mightn’t be spent at all, presumably. Is this an amount that’s surrender-able at the end of the year or…”
McCarthy: “No. It’s not surrender-able.”
MacSharry: “Ok, so it’s an allowance for unknown items, or unknown purposes, not audited and presumably not subject to taxation because it’s not salary or whatever.”
McCarthy: “That’s correct yeah.”
MacSharry: “Is it reasonable to say, and I know sometimes my language is a little bit flippant but is this a €317,000 payment on the blind? That no-one passes any remote oversight, notion, idea, look, at what it’s spent on? Is that the case?”
McCarthy: “I don’t know, deputy.”
McCarthy: “I do have a piece of information which may be relevant. In 2011, an amount of €357,000 was returned to the Central Fund at the end of the previous president’s [McAleese] presidency.”
MacSharry: “That would indicate then…sorry, just because it’s on the same thread…that this €317,000 can be paid per annum, be accumulated and then, if there’s amounts left over, as would seem to be the case in 2011, the balance was refunded to the Central Exchequer. Ok. But still, whoever was the incumbent, or whoever was responsible at that time, we don’t know what the money was spent on per year and we still don’t.”
“We want to get the procedures but we do know the Secretary General of An Taoiseach doesn’t know, the C&AG is not responsible and doesn’t know and the Department of Finance Secretary General, according to yourself, the C&AG, also doesn’t know, or doesn’t have a role in auditing that amount of money. So I think that’s significant.”
Follow PAC proceedings live here
Roscommon County Council tweetz:
Sean Gallagher has secured the nomination of Roscommon County Council in the race for #aras18 with ten councillors supporting him at this morning’s meeting. Senator Joan Freeman received 3 votes and Gemma O’Doherty two. There were two Councillors absent and one abstention…
— Eimear Ní Bhraonáin (@eimeardeschemer) August 13, 2018
At St Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny where former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was interviewed by former RTE journalist David Davin-Power, as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival.
From top: Barrister Noel Whelan who most recently acted as legal counsel for An Garda Síochána at the Disclosures Tribunal; Gavin Duffy
“It is a wonderful office, I think in many ways it’s the most interesting office in our political system not least because the president has the capacity to elevate some issues, shine a spotlight on causes and groups which don’t necessarily get the appropriate attention. I think it has at times subtle, legal and political dimensions that are taken for granted.”
Barrister and political commentator Noel Whelan
Sources familiar with Duffy’s plans claim up to 15 councils are willing to nominate candidates. By law, councils must wait until Eoghan Murphy, the local government minister, moves the election writ, which is expected to be around August 28, before they formally nominate candidates.
Shirtless UFC giant Conor McGregor declares a, taut, inked, if light-hearted coup against President Higgins on the streets of
Las Vegas Beverley Hills ahead of his bout against Floyd Mayweather.
Mr McGregor is reportedly going to net a ‘purse’ of around $127 million whether he wins or loses.
*kicks own head*
My left hook?
‘Chris Eubank’s valet’ writes:
Does Conor McGregor [in the Mayweather fight promotional material] look like a young Daniel Day Lewis playing Conor McGregor? Just me?
Thanks Jack Jones
From top: Candidates running in this week’s University College Dublin’s Student Union executive elections and votes being sorted and counted in UCD this afternoon
Votes are being counted in UCD after students voted in their Student Union executive elections yesterday and Tuesday.
The latest results from the counts this afternoon show Marcus O’Halloran is leading in the UCDSU President race – with 493 votes (36%) ahead of Michael Foley who has 365 votes (27%).
Earlier this week, Mr O’Halloran released an apology to students after it emerged he was a member of a Facebook group, called ‘Girls I’d shift if i was tipsy’.
University Observer reported on Monday:
“The group, which as of this morning was open and public, consists of male UCD students and appears to have existed since 2012, with most of the activity taking place this February. All of the group’s members are men, and an early post in the group reads “right lads all girls have been removed from this group so its now a lads only group hence ya can talk more freely about girls id like to shift if i was tipsy”.”
“The latest post in the group is a photo of two students captioned with “Bitta cross breeding going on here” and two emojis depicting a white person and a person of colour wearing a turban, while another recent post shows two students, one male and one female, asleep in a bed together. Most photos in the group depict couples in nightclubs.”
“Complaints made about the group also addressed UCDSU presidential candidate Marcus O’Halloran’s membership of the group. O’Halloran has been a member of the group for over a year and has “liked” the majority of the page’s posts, including the two mentioned above. 22 of the group’s 47 members have cover photos or profile photos endorsing Marcus O’Halloran’s campaign for president.”
In his apology, Mr O’Halloran said:
“This group is not representative of my opinions on women’s rights or gender equality. There is a “Lad” culture prevalent across UCD and as president, I would like to run a sexual harassment awareness campaign to combat cat-calling and the objectification of women.”
Pics: UCD Students’ Union
H/T: Catherine Healy