Business Irish

Sunday 20 October 2019

Mover and shakers display frugal tastes in Christmas wish lists

From an Irish-English dictionary to a trip to Antarctica and an iPad, Thomas Molloy and Peter Flanagan detail the choices Matthew Elderfield

Personal: "I'll be hoping 2012 brings a sporting triple crown of England winning the European Championship, Leeds getting promotion to the Premiership and Mark Cavendish winning the Olympics road race gold medal. But perhaps that is a bit much even for Santa to deliver."

For the country: "Like many other people, I will be hoping for a stronger global, European and, especially, Irish economy. It would good if more of the best and brightest young Irish people could have opportunities to stay here in Ireland, perhaps as future leaders in the financial services industry."

Matthew Elderfield is the financial regulator and deputy governor of the Central Bank

John Teeling

Personal: "Very little; I'm not really into things. I suppose what I'd really like is more exercise, to lose weight and get fit." After a good deal of thought and prompting, Mr Teeling suggested the latest thrillers by Michael Connolly, Michael Crichton and John Pattison. "Those are the writers I like to read for relaxation." He also said he'd like to visit Antarctica on a cruise or attend the Olympic Games in London next summer. "I'd like to see the 100 metres or the 1,500 metres."

For the country: "I would like to see €100bn written off the national debt, which is the money we spent on the banks which has not done much for us. That would save €5bn a year and stop the sort of cuts that are cutting into the muscle. If not that, I'd like to see inflation and that we'd inflate our debt away."

John Teeling is the founder and chairman of Cooley Distillery

Feargal Quinn

Personal: "A new grandchild!"

For the country: "There is a general atmosphere of doom and gloom hanging over the country like a permanent thunder cloud. I make no apologies for the fact that I am an optimist. I believe the Irish people are among the most capable in the world. I would go further and say it is up to each of us to play our part in getting us out of our present problems.

"Over the last few years I have had the privilege of presenting 'Feargal Quinn's Retail Therapy' and 'Local Heroes -- A Town Fights Back' programmes on RTE. This has kept me focused on the actual day-to-day problems facing businesses and individuals.

"But it has also made me aware of the opportunities that lie out there. I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of good ideas brought out by these difficult times. So my wish for 2012 is that everyone would have a large smile of confidence -- we can do it! Whether you believe you can or you can't, you are right!

"Therefore we have to believe in ourselves and Drogheda has proved that it can be done!"

Feargal Quinn is the former owner of Superquinn, and is a senator in the Oireachtas

Ben Dunne

Personal: "A dictionary of Irish: I'm going to play an active role in speaking Irish in 2012. We're the only country in Europe that doesn't use its own language on a day-to-day basis."

For the country: Mr Dunne believes the Government will be "roundly flayed in any referendum" on the new European fiscal compact and thinks it's about time we gave Europe the two fingers. "Stuff Europe now. They've a lot more to lose than we do to gain. If we left we'd still have food to feed ourselves and we'd even get our fishing rights back. We do most of our business with the UK and the US anyway."

Ben Dunne owns a chain of gyms

Brian O'Cathain

Personal: "A copy of 'Rome' by Robert Hughes."

For the country: "I would give Ireland the present of a functioning and conclusive planning process. Too often, strategically important projects in this country have been stymied by the interests of small and frequently unaffected groups.

"Public consultation is an important process, but it should be structured with a definite timetable. Corrib has done untold damage to Ireland's international reputation. Whether or not you agree with the project is not the issue. It is the process and the uncertainty of duration which is wrong. Too many of our regulatory systems seem to work on the basis of uncertain deadlines and ill-defined rules. Unfortunately the debate on fracking looks like it may go the same way as Corrib, with emotion overriding facts and science."

Brian O'Cathain is the chief executive of Petroceltic

Danny McCoy

Personal: "This year I really want a Kindle and the first book I want to read is the new biography on Richard Holbrooke, 'The Unquiet American'."

For the country: "A final resolution to the eurozone crisis would be a great present for Ireland this Christmas. A stable eurozone would allow Ireland to continue its economic recovery and build on the competitiveness improvements of recent years.

"Our exporters would be able to continue growing and capturing market share for Irish goods and services, and consumers would feel confident about our future. Stability would also enable Ireland to maintain its attractiveness as a location of choice for foreign investment and ensure that multinationals continue to invest in their Irish operations.

"Delivering a solution to the ongoing crisis is within European leaders' power, but they must act quickly and decisively. The euro has brought huge benefits for business and making the right decisions about the structure of the monetary union will help Irish companies compete in the global market place, delivering prosperity and jobs."

Danny McCoy is director general of IBEC

Aidan Cotter

Personal: "I'm hoping for an iPad, with a copy of Steve Jobs's biography downloaded, a reminder that the world belongs to the discontented."

For the country: "A restoration of confidence in the domestic economy, triggering a virtuous cycle of spending, investment and job creation. The food and agriculture sector can play a role, as it is in many ways a microcosm of what is happening in the Irish economy, with companies turning in an outstanding export performance while facing an exceptionally tough consumer environment at home.

"As our largest indigenous industry, a disproportionately larger share of the additional export revenues (€1bn extra in 2011 alone) will be spent and invested in our domestic economy, and the hope should be, provided the confidence is there, that this will support job recovery, in retail and supply sectors and across both our urban and rural landscape.

"Food Harvest 2020 is our national roadmap, and its ambition and momentum for growth is matched by the opportunity of an assured expansion in global demand, which Ireland is well poised to supply."

Aidan Cotter is the chief executive of Bord Bia

Alan McQuaid

Personal: "I would just like to have a quiet Christmas where I can put my feet up and relax with my family, even for just a few days to get away from the relentless bad news on the economy and financial markets.

"There has been no let-up this year, so I intend to indulge myself, eat, drink a couple of glasses of wine and watch non-stop sport on television, especially the football. I will follow the trials and tribulations of my beloved Leeds United (a bit like following the Irish economy -- inconsistent and all over the place) during the festive season and as usual it probably won't be good for the heart."

For the country: "I would like to see Santa Claus bring some hope for the Irish people in 2012 by knocking sense into Europe's politicians who, to put it mildly, have been totally inept in handling the eurozone debt crisis, putting more misery on to hard-pressed individuals/ households and leading to unnecessary uncertainty over the future of the euro.

"I would also like to see those who have money go out and spend it and give retailers and the domestic side of the economy a much needed lift.

"I would hope too that the images of the thousands of returning Irish emigrants for Christmas spur the Government into action to seriously tackle the huge unemployment problem.

"I'd also like to see our emergency services have a trouble-free and happy Christmas and get through the festive season without more lives being lost on the road, a huge cost both in personal terms and to the resources and finances of the State."

Alan McQuaid is chief economist at Bloxham Stockbrokers

Eunan O'Carroll

Personal: "The big challenge for me in 2012, will be my trip to Sultan Hamud in Kenya, accompanying a group of sixth years, to help in the building of the Machakos secondary school. This worthy project established by the Spiritan community in Kenya and Ireland reminds those of us who have more in life, to give something back in a meaningful way."

For the country: "The year ahead will be difficult. But all of us working in the life and pensions industry will do well to remember that change is nothing new to this industry and that the ability to adapt and remain relevant is well within our reach. The opportunity and challenge is to re-establish trust in the financial services industry and in doing so once again create a market place where consumers willingly engage.

"The pensions industry is at a crossroads. We should all welcome the focus by Government in this extremely important sector of our economy. Pensions and the ability to retire with dignity must be a priority for all. Government must now push forward at pace with the development of a long-term, viable strategy for pensions. Retiring Ireland's next generation and the modernisation of our pensions industry is a realistic and obtainable goal for 2012."

Eunan O'Carroll is sales and marketing director at Friends First

Louis Fitzgerald

Personal: "The publican wants to keep doing what he does in business with his family. When you see what some families have to go through, you realise that your own life has a lot of positives. All my family except one, who's in college, are now involved in the business."

For the country: "I don't want to see people destroyed with over-taxation. Other countries have the same problems we do, but people need breathing space. They need to have some hope."

Louis Fitzgerald owns three hotels and a chain of pubs including Kehoes and the Stag's Head in Dublin.

Bobby Kerr

Personal: "I'd like 'Discovery', a box set of the complete studio recordings of Pink Floyd. I'd play it loud so I can just forget about everything."

For the country: "I'd like a ban on upward rent reviews, which we were promised during the election campaign. The Government has already ruled out the move after originally championing it."

Bobby Kerr is co-owner of the Insomnia coffee chain, a shareholder in Dublin's Bang restaurant and a panellist on 'Dragon's Den'

Richie Boucher

Personal: "A happy and heal-thy family."

For the country: "The confidence in itself that a large number of external parties have in it already."

Richie Boucher is chief executive of Bank of Ireland

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