Cyril Roux's cinema trip
The Punt recently dropped in to a screening of the excellent new documentary 'Best of Enemies', an account of an epic series of TV debates between the flamboyant liberal writer Gore Vidal and the staunch conservative commentator William F Buckley.
The clashes were characterised by the men's intense loathing of each other. Each thought the other was quite dangerous, as the late Christopher Hitchens, perhaps the last of that kind of celebrity intellectual, put it.
Buckley called the bisexual Vidal a "queer" and threatened to punch him after his nemesis called him a crypto-Nazi.
Also in the cinema was Central Bank deputy governor Cyril Roux, who's no slouch in the argument stakes himself.
He's the man that last year warned Patrick Honohan about the state of consumer protection in the Central Bank. He told the governor that a consumer advisory group's concerns had called out the "light touch, undermanned approach to supervision that has been ours so far." Roux also claimed that Dame Street's supervision of anti-money laundering activities was "woefully insufficient", according to documents released under Freedom of Information to this newspaper.
When the film was over Roux dashed out before The Punt was able to stop over a chat, but perhaps Roux might have been able to pick up a few pointers for his next set-to.
Mark Fielding’s latest missive
Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) boss Mark Fielding isn’t shy about sharing his (often hugely entertaining) opinions. That’s the way he has to be – his big rival the Small Firms Association is part of Ibec and has more resources.
Fielding’s latest missive is a survey about the effect of crime on business, putting the cost of crime to Irish SMEs at an eye-watering €1.62bn.
“A much tougher stance is needed in relation to business crime as part of a comprehensive business crime prevention strategy, so that this scourge on business can be eradicated,” Fielding fulminated.
But the figure comes with something of a health warning: “In this survey there is no official scientific method of collating and registering the cost of crime on SMEs.”
The figure is based on the responses of 924 companies, extrapolating those for an estimated 200,000 total Irish SMEs, and factoring in direct costs of crime and the cost of crime prevention.
Banker’s Kerry trip nixed
An amusing report from the US state of Delaware popped up at the end of last week. It seems a US judge has blocked a banker accused of making false statements to federal regulators from taking a holiday to the beautiful Ring of Kerry.
Judge Sherry R Fallon said she had concerns about David R Gibson, former chief financial officer of Wilmington Trust, travelling internationally, Delaware Online reported.
The best bit was the reporter’s description of Gibson’s demeanour.
“Gibson, 58, showed no emotion at Fallon’s denial of his travel plans, but shifted visibly in his chair when Fallon spent nearly 30 minutes summarising charges against him. He pleaded not guilty and was released pending trial”.
Perhaps he wasn’t that keen on Kerry then.
Gibson will miss out on the beautiful Irish scenery and could instead be faced with a view of prison bars.
If he is convicted of the 19 charges against him, all of which he denies, he could be in jail for decades, Delaware Online said.
The prosecution lawyers asked that if Gibson was allowed to travel, he would be asked to check in every day.
“Hey guys, I’m having a blast but I’m afraid I can’t understand the natives”.