Albert would not have survived in a world where anti-business pervades politics
Published 28/08/2014 | 02:30
A week ago today Albert Reynolds sadly passed away. Appropriate tributes, appreciations and analysis were paid to his life achievements. But a broader question of political reflection now needs asking: Could an Albert be elected Taoiseach today? Methinks a character immersed in a business background couldn't succeed in our modern era of a political ascent to the summit of the greasy pole. Even worse, I fear the prospects of entrepreneurs getting to first base of Dail election are currently remote.
The availability of business people to stand for election is a rarity. In today's corporate world, founders of businesses tend not to endure beyond a glass ceiling. Independent enterprises lack deep pockets or access to equity capital to retain ownership for the fastest-growing profitable businesses; the best option being to flip, sell at top of the market. Most family businesses don't survive beyond the third generation. Therefore, contemporary high-profile business executives are mostly senior employees rather than founders/owners/managers. Prevailing salaries won't tempt the likes of Michael O'Leary into politics. It's incompatible to run a dual career.
Leaving aside international billionaires and property developers; potentially electable entrepreneurs and self-made indigenous successes like Padraig O'Ceide, Amanda Pratt, Liam Griffin, Darina Allen, Pat McDonagh, Bill Cullen, Gillian Bowler, Denis Desmond, Eddie O Connor or John Teeling wouldn't be persuaded to put their name on a ballot paper.