Tag Archives: Sunday Business Post


This morning.

Denis O’Brien arrives at the High Courtn to continue giving evidence in a defamation action against The Sunday Business Post.

Mr O’Brien’s lawyers told the jury they should award Mr O’Brien “substantial damages to reflect the seriousness of allegations made” in a number of articles in the newspaper almost four years which gave details of a 2008 report by accountants PwC into Ireland’s banks.



Mr [Michael] McDowell SC asked Mr O’Brien to point out where the articles suggested that he personally was responsible for any wrongdoing.

He quoted the Carly Simon song “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you,” and suggested it applied to Mr O’Brien who seemed to think people would believe everything in the articles referred to him.

Mr O’Brien said he was not aware Mr McDowell was a music buff, to which Mr McDowell replied that he was a great fan of music station 98FM.

Denis O’Brien denies he is ‘self-obsessed’ in his view of SBP articles (RTÉ)

Damien Tiernan (left) and Jon Williams RTÉ’s managing director of news and current affairs


RTÉ’s former south-east correspondent for 23 years Damien Tiernan – who recently stepped down from his €90,000-a-year job at RTÉ, took redundancy and started working at Waterford’s WLR FM radio station – outlined the reasons he left the State broadcaster.

He told journalist Colette Sexton in The Sunday Business Post that he took redundancy mainly “due to frustration at not being able to get stories on air”.

Mr Tiernan added:

“All of the correspondents in RTÉ are constantly trying to get stories on air, but the system does not allow that to happen as [well] as it could. That needs to be improved and the frustration around that is certainly one of the reasons that I left RTÉ. I couldn’t see myself begging to get stories on air for the next 15 years.”

He claimed, in the early 2000s, RTÉ’s studio in Waterford produced an average of 220 TV and radio stories a year, but in the past seven years this had dropped to between 50 and 60 stories a year for RTÉ News.

In a statement to Ms Sexton, RTÉ said it “didn’t recognise” Mr Tiernan’s figures.

Mr Tiernan also said:

The depth of talent and skill and passion within RTÉ is enormous, and that creativity is stifled at so many levels. For a supposedly creative organisation, it doesn’t know how to develop that creativity to make people confident of the future.

“RTÉ is in a great process of change, like other media organisations. Everybody is grappling with the changes, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You don’t need to get in consultants. You just have to work with the talent you have and make people happy in their jobs.”

Following on from this interview in the Sunday Business Post, the managing director of RTÉ Jon Williams tweeted the article with the message:

Agree RTÉ has brilliant correspondents – which is a why we’ve just appointed new regional correspondents in Dundalk & Belfast. Odd definition of “slashing”. Wish @damienwlrfm every success in new role.

Mr Tiernan responded:

Am disgusted, disappointed but not surprised by RTÉ basically calling me a liar with my figures Jon; RTE does not recognise my figures because RTÉ doesn’t care enough to ask someone to count them. And you were forced re reappoint North East Corresponden by unions after ye tried to downgrade role.

If you want to get into a public spat with me bring it on but I have better things to do (like playing an over 35 soccer match); I love RTÉ more than you will ever know.

And one thing, the regional section on the website and app is a joke.

Mr Tiernan will begin hosting WLR FM’s two-hour live show Déise Today from 10am today.

Tiernan: slashing of regional coverage was why I left RTÉ (Colette Sexton, Sunday Business Post)

Request from Judge Brian Cregan for an extension for his inquiry into the sale of Siteserv; Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy; businessman Denis O’Brien

Yesterday, The Sunday Business Post, reported that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is refusing to give Judge Brian Cregan a 15-month extension for his inquiry into the sale of Siteserv and that he wants to know what the commission has found to date before doing so.

Judge Cregan’s request for an extension last week follows three other similar requests since the commission of investigation was set up in 2015.

The 2012 sale of Siteserv, to a company controlled by Denis O’Brien, Millington, is just one of 38 debt write-offs involving IBRC, formally Anglo Irish Bank, that Judge Cregan is tasked with examining. Siteserv is now called Actavo.

Hugh O’Connell reported:

The possibility of the commission of investigation, which is examining Siteserv and other IBRC loans sales, being scrapped entirely was raised at a meeting between the Taoiseach and opposition party leaders earlier this month. There are mounting concerns over the several missed deadlines and rising costs previously estimated at up to €25 million.

A Dáil vote would be needed to scrap the inquiry completely.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy said:

“If we simply accept that the task of investigating Siteserv is too big and complicated, then essentially we are being asked to accept that there is an entire cohort of people who are too big to touch. I cannot and will not accept that.”

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms Murphy said:

What concerns me about the commission is that the format it is following is akin to a tribunal of inquiry rather than a private investigation. There seems to be a highly legalistic approach.

That is not what was expected. I myself said I did not want it to go on forever when it was set up. It will be five years. To say I am disappointed is probably an understatement.”

Varadkar is refusing to extend the Siteserv inquiry deadline (Hugh O’Connell, Sunday Business Post)

TD who raised issue of Siteserv sale to Dáil criticises inquiry’s progress (Harry McGee, The Irish Times)

Previously: Inactavo

Key Capital, which is chaired by former NCB stockbroker Conor Killeen, says it received an approach for Sunrise that prompted it to appoint advisers to assess its potential exit from the business.

It is understood that tentative discussions have already been held with a number of potential interested parties.

Sunrise comprises the Sunday Business Post and the trading business of Webprint, which prints the Post and also has about 40 other printing contracts, including for several regional newspaper titles. The Post employs about 50 staff, with a further 25 employed at Webprint.

‘Sunday Business Post’ put up for sale by Key Capital (Irish Times)


From top: Denis O’Brien, Noel Rock.

In yesterday’s Sunday Business Post.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock wrote a column about Independent News and Media (INM) and its pension cuts – some of which will amount to 70% – describing the company’s moves as “appalling”.

He also referred to the pockets of INM’s biggest shareholder, Denis O’Brien, without naming him.

Mr Rock wrote:

“… But what shifts it from appalling to repugnant is that INM is a massively profitable company, in large part because workers agreed to write down the value of their pensions by 40 per cent in 2013.

“INM announced some months ago that it made a profit of €37 million in 2015. It will have a Euromillions Jackpot figure of €87 million in pure cash burning a hole in its corporate pockets by the end of this month.

“…Sadly, and wrongly, this is not illegal in Ireland. It is in Britain.

“…While Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar is investigating the possibility of intervening in the forthcoming High Court hearing on the capital restructuring of INM and asking the court to consider appropriateness of capital restructuring when it’s closing this pension scheme, it’s certainly worth asking if a “wait and see” approach is good enough, or whether we need to directly intervene.

“…[INM shareholders] also benefited when banks, including the state-owned AIB as well as Bank of Ireland, wrote off almost €140 million in INM debt. These are banks that we bailed out.

“So every single person in Ireland was involved in the indirect bailout of INM. We wrote off their debts, and they crushed their own pensioners to the tune of two-fifths of their entitlement.

We didn’t take that hit as a society so that, three years later, the company would come back, throw its pensioners under a proverbial bus, and suck all the money out of the company for the shareholders we, effectively, did a deal with.

Nor did we do it so that the company could use the cash it is taking off pensioners and transfer it directly into the pockets of its largest shareholder, by buying Newstalk or any other asset he happens to have.”


Noel Rock: Why the INM pension scandal should concern and anger us all (Sunday Business Post)



Yesterday’s Sunday Business Post

In yesterday’s Sunday Business Post

Susan Mitchell and Jack Horgan-Jones reported:

A Sunday Business Post investigation today reveals that drug companies are funding dozens of medical and nursing posts in some of the biggest hospitals in the country, while almost one-third of the HSE’s most senior doctors are receiving money from pharmaceutical firms.

The investigation also found that hospitals are unable to account for millions of euro that pharmaceutical companies say they paid them.

Hospitals said they had no visibility of many of these payments, which were sometimes made to individual departments and organisations controlled by groups of doctors.

More than €17 million was paid out last year. That figure excludes funding for research and development or clinical trials. Among the items paid for by big drugs companies in Irish hospitals are a couch, a DVD player and a coffee machine.

The industry is also paying hundreds of thousands to individual medical colleges to fund the continuing medical education of doctors.

Professor Michael Barry, who heads up the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE), told this newspaper that he believes payments from industry are influencing prescribing habits in Ireland.

He said doctors were prescribing more costly branded medicines here than doctors in other countries. He also said the industry should not be funding the medical education of doctors.

How doctors and hospitals cash in on big pharma (Sunday Business Post)

Previously: Medical Trials And Children Of Lesser Gods


Yesterday’s Sunday Business Post

Since 2011, there have been around 46,000 users of JobBridge placements.

Further to this…

Yesterday, the Sunday Business Post reported:

…the largest user of the [JobBridge] scheme over its five-year lifetime is the Health Service Executive (HSE), which used it a total of 399 times. The HSE used the scheme to fill 67 assistant psychologist positions, a grade which the Psychological Society of Ireland is demanding be established by the HSE as a full grade of paid employment.

The HSE was followed by the GAA (249 interns); Teagasc (184); UCD (184); computing giant Hewlett-Packard (176); SuperValu (161) and the ESB (157). There is no implication of wrongdoing on behalf of any of these companies.

…The scheme was also heavily used by a wide range of state bodies amid a hiring moratorium imposed during the economic downturn, with state bodies accounting for eight of the top 20 users of the scheme.

All employers contacted said that they stood by their use of the scheme and praised its usefulness.

In a statement, the largest user, the HSE, defended its use of the scheme.

It said that it made a decision at a national level to use the programme to support government policies around unemployment and job creation.

Due to the moratorium on recruitment, services such as psychology and speech and language therapy were diminished during this period. The scheme provided an opportunity for graduates to gain valuable clinical experience in their chosen fields, while at the same time delivering much-needed services to service users during the period of the JobBridge internship,” it said.

The Department of Social Protection is undertaking a review of JobBridge, but it is understood to be advancing plans to name and shame those found abusing the programme.

There you go now.

A full Sunday Business Post database of the companies which offered 46,000 JobBridge placements can be accessed here

JobBridge Uncovered: Intern labour staffed tech giants, HSE, supermarkets (The Sunday Business Post, behind paywall)

Previously: JobBridge on Broadsheet


The results of a Red C poll in the Sunday Business Post at the weekend

On Sunday, the Sunday Business Post carried the results of a Red C poll, showing support for Fine Gael was up a point this month to 31%.

Other news outlets reported the results of the poll with RTÉ reporting, “At 31% it’s the highest level of support for the party since 2012.”

In his analysis, the Sunday Business Post’s deputy editor and political editor Pat Leahy wrote:

There is a saying about US presidential elections that it isn’t the guy with the answer to the question who wins; it’s the guy who gets to set the question who wins.

That is where the parties are now directing their efforts. The government parties want the question of the election to be about stability versus chaos. Sinn Féin, the hard left independents and small parties want the question to be about fairness versus austerity. Fianna Fáil is offering a bit of both – a bit of stability, a bit of fairness.

Every media interview, every piece of campaign literature stuffed through your letterbox, every speech, every canvass; politicians in all parties are supposed to follow the template decided by headquarters. “Message discipline” is one of the political buzzwords of the age. Roughly speaking it means that everyone in the party should say the same thing all the time.

For Fine Gael that means talking about the economy and the necessity for stability to sustain the recovery.

Sinn Féin is up two points today to 18 per cent and is set to make significant gains at the election, but like the independents, it has declined over the last 12 months.

As the economic recovery has gathered strength, and as austerity has ceased to be the central fact of Irish politics, those parties and independents which made opposition to austerity their central political message have seen their support eroded. When you think about it, that’s what you would have expected.”

In addition to Mr Leahy’s analysis, Richard Colwell, managing director of Red C, wrote:

For some time, Red C has championed the theory that a significant proportion of those currently claiming they will vote for Independent candidates, may simply be using this option to hold fire on where their final loyalties might lie. They are torn between anger at austerity and the broken promises they believe this government has made, and the reality that the parties they voted for at the last election are still probably the safest bet for not rocking the boat over the next five years.”

“Our prediction was that, as voters moved closer to the realities of an actual general election, they may well start to shift back to the government parties and away from their claimed support for Independent candidates.”

That shift certainly appears to be materialising to some extent for Fine Gael. The downward trend in support for Independent candidates and other parties, seen over the past four months, is very closely matched by the upward trend in support for Fine Gael.”

One man polled by Red C expressed concerns on Facebook late on Saturday night, as the poll’s results emerged in media outlets.

He wrote wrote on Facebook that he felt the phraseology used during the questioning was biased.

He wrote:

I was one of the people surveyed for this and I was shocked at how biased the phraseology used was. Questions like “given how much the economy has improved, would you risk voting for another party?” followed on from being asked to rate how much my financial situation has improved under the current Government. I stopped the questioner halfway through to ask who commissioned the survey but he wouldn’t tell. At the end I asked for a phone number for Red C to ask who commissioned the survey. So I called up and queried it and I was told they would call me back but they didn’t. At least now I know it’s the Sunday Business Post. Interesting.

Broadsheet posted this man’s comment in a post yesterday.

However, after this man contacted Red C yesterday, and discovered the questions he was concerned about were not included in the SBP coverage, he requested that the post be removed.

He was informed by Red C that some of the political questions he was asked were commissioned by a “private individual”.

Broadsheet contacted the Red C and this was confirmed.

Longer term trends positive for Fine Gael – SBP poll November 2015 (Red C)

Voters poised on standby vote (Pat Leahy, Sunday Business Post)

Steady as she goes for FG (Richard Colwell, Sunday Business Post)

STNE/DTPH   13-9-07 Irish Entrepreuner Denis O'Brien. City Profile Pictures by Philip Hollis for The Sunday Telegraph

Denis O’Brien

And sure why wouldn’t it be?

Gavin Sherian and Tom Lyons, in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post, reported:

“A company [Another 9 or A9 Business Recovery Services] backed by billionaire Denis O’Brien is being paid substantial sums of money to protect Irish Water’s website from “severe” cyber attacks, with six serious incidents identified in just five months alone.”

“…The company is chaired by Leslie Buckley, an O’Brien associate, who is the chairman of Independent News & Media. Shareholders in the company are Baycliffe, an Isle of Man investment company used by O’Brien, and Steve O’Brien, a businessman.”

“The full cost to the State of services provided by the company – including hourly rates charged by security engineers – has been redacted by Irish Water citing confidentiality reasons. The documents state the “yearly charge” for “hosting and security charges” is €1.2 million to Ervia over five years. It does not appear to include other potential charges.”

“…The form of cyber attack that Another 9 is defending Irish Water against is called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack…”

“…Another 9 lists O’Brien’s company Digicel as well as AIB, Volkswagen and Pioneer Investments as among its clients. The company’s website describes O’Brien as “shareholder” and as “one of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs”.”

There you go now.

O’Brien-backed company battles Irish Water hackers (The Sunday Business Post)