Saturday 21 October 2017

The Punt: Big issue with smallest room on Lambay Island

Lambay Island
Lambay Island

The planning process can be a long, drawn-out one, and so it is proving for the Barings – the family behind the bank that was brought down by Nick Leeson.

Last year, Alex Baring – the seventh Baron Revelstoke – sought permission to upgrade the infrastructure at Lambay Island off the coast of Dublin. The family has owned it since 1904.

The changes include a new wind turbine and improvements to its sewage and electricity system. It also included plans to make some changes to the main residence. Mr Baring wants to introduce a "controlled level of commercial tourism" to the island, which until now has remained off-limits to the general public for over a century, with the exception of pre-arranged and short visits by some local history groups and the like.

While Fingal County Council approved much of the planning application, Mr Baring has appealed some of the conditions to An Bord Plenala. One of those involves an additional bathroom in the main residence. The council maintains that "this intervention is unacceptable" in the room proposed for conversion. Instead, it proposes that an alternative room be converted to a bathroom.

"We respectfully submit that a lack of an en-suite connection will materially reduce the attractiveness of the island to the targeted high-end visitor," Mr Baring's planning consultant argues. Or make it exceedingly quaint.

KATIE'S GEARED UP AT SIMI GIG

BOXING champ Katie Taylor, world rally driver Rosemary Smith and Irish rugby player Lynne Cantwell were among the scores of women who revved up the atmosphere in the Gibson Hotel yesterday.

The inaugural Women@SIMI event was hosted by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry to put the focus on the 8,000 females that drive the industry.

Despite the growing numbers it employs, Rowena Dooley – director of Dooley Motors and SIMI treasurer – said there was still room for improve-ment in the sector.

More than 150 female professionals in the motor industry attended the Bank of Ireland-sponsored event which was staged to recognise the driving seat women take in the industry right across the country.

It was also a day for big names with former MD of the trading floor at Morgan Stanley, novelist Aifric Campbell, and Nicola Byrne, chief executive and founder of Cloud90, 11890 and Stenics Media, among the business heads who spoke about their experiences and challenges.

"To be honest the whole gender balance issue doesn't really come into the equation in most small to medium sized businesses in our industry," Ms Dooley said.

"We're all so focused on getting on with the job and really people progress based on their skill set and – more importantly – their attitude, as opposed to a gender bias one way or another."

OCH AYE, IT'S DUBLIN'S FINEST

BONO is a pretty good self-publicist. As a rock star and campaigner, he has had audiences with US presidents and other world leaders. But it appears his nationality can get a little lost.

Former US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, when they first met, thought the Dubliner was Scottish.

Geithner recalls in his recently-published autobiography that when he met Bono, the latter did a impression of moral hazard fundamentalists lecturing the poor.

In an attempt to poke fun at the Germans, the senior US official told Bono that it was "weird to hear a Scottish guy speak in a German accent".

But Bono, below, doesn't hold a grudge. Geithner went on to reveal that when he left the Treasury, he was invited to become a US drummer by the man himself.

Irish Independent

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