Sunday 23 October 2016

The Yates anthology: Only one winner for my wally of week

Published 01/08/2015 | 02:30

PTSB chief executive Jeremy Masding
PTSB chief executive Jeremy Masding

The sole contender and outright winner of this week's brickbat is Jeremy Masding for his contrived contrition. A see-through glass lectern revealed his handwritten notes to remind himself to be "Serious. Controlled. No smile." He was trying to explain the mortgage overcharging scandal which has led to a fine of €20m by the Central Bank and a redress scheme for mortgage victims of €35m by Permanent TSB management.

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The systemic failure which impacted on mortgage customers should result in greater corporate culpability. Members of management and board members should consider their positions. If bankers' heads don't roll here, they never will. Silence from their shareholder, the Minister for Finance, is deafening.

For those who lost their home, a paltry €50k seems an insult. I expect some legal eagles to pursue a class action on their behalf with the likelihood of more meaningful restitution such as getting the roofs over their head back.

Galway gallivanting

The CSO had a busy week. Firstly, red-faced embarrassment at being countermanded by Eurostat for their 'green jersey' behaviour in determining that Irish Water was independent of the Government's exchequer accounts.

The CSO's credibility as independent is barely sustainable given the principle income of Irish Water, a state quango, was from the NPRF last year and domestic household revenue has not materialised this year. Failing the market competition test amounted to stating the bleeding obvious.

The CSO also revised Ireland's growth figures for the past 12 months up to 6.5pc and restoration back to 2007 output levels. One didn't need state statisticians in Galway to tell you the good times are re-emerging.

While the helicopters may be rented rather than owned, their racecourse traffic is back. While champagne was €125 per bottle, my pint of Guinness was not unreasonably €4.80. Endemic queues and traffic delays were back in vogue.

The fashion and style of Ladies' Day included all age groups, with plenty of hormonal excitement. On the track, it was tough going for punters to recoup their expenses, with Dermot Weld's hot-pots off target. Retiring Ballybrit manager John Maloney can reflect tomorrow on his 27th and best ever festival. My abiding memory of Galway 2015 will be Willie Mullins' two super new novice hurdlers, Bachasson and Long Dog. Both won easily with disdain, whetting appetites for Grade 1 successes throughout the winter.

Comeuppance for cyclists

A new regime of law and order comes into force today. It's estimated some 40,000 people cycle on a daily basis. It's obviously increasingly attractive to commute in cities, availing of cycle lanes and local authority provision schemes in Dublin, Cork and Galway. There are even tax incentives to encourage you into the saddle.

The downside is for motorists and pedestrians who have to move over to get out of their way. It's long overdue to have some deterrents to stop cyclists blatantly breaking red lights, traversing footpaths and weaving in and out of traffic in a dangerous manner. New laws mean a €40 fixed charge fine, increasing to €60 if unpaid in 56 days; if unpaid thereafter a court process and judicial fine of up to €2,000 can ensue. Offences include: cycling without reasonable consideration; lack of lamps on bikes in the dark; riding on a footpath; disobeying traffic lights and school warden signage.

Unlike motorists, cyclists have no cumulative penalty points, driver's licence equivalent or compulsory insurance. Maybe these should be incrementally considered. The critical question is enforcement. Will gardaí be bothered pursuing errant offensive riders who utterly disregard fellow citizens? A short sharp period of rigour is now required to control the pests. I suspect a fundamental weakness will be the veracity of name and address from culprits as bikes are basically untraceable. Let's pursue adult pedal pushers into compliance in order to protect pedestrians. Common courtesy costs nothing.

Dublin delight

August bank holiday weekend for me is synonymous with anticipation of the Dublin Horse Show. If you've never been to this five-day event at the RDS showgrounds, please put it on your bucket list of things to do before you die. I can take or leave aspects of the 'jodhpur set', they're sometimes too snooty. But the craic and buzz next week is a summer highlight.

Unmissable international arena events are Friday's Aga Khan, Saturday's Puissance high wall showdown and Sunday's Individual Grand Prix event. A side effect of the Celtic Tiger was the emergence of a new generation of young top-class showjumpers, most notable of which is young Bertram Allen, who has emerged in the world's top five. Originally, mentored by Eddie Brennan, he is only 20 years old today.

Next weekend I'll be looking forward to attending the variety of equine events including showing class of retired racehorses, pony club mayhem, parade of champions and inter-hunt steeple chase. The €4m event probably couldn't function without Fáilte Ireland's sponsorship. Some 100,000 visitors are expected - try and be there.

Irish Independent

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