Business Irish

Sunday 8 December 2019

Nick Webb: Shatter locked up with the former regulator

Alan Shatter
Alan Shatter

Nick Webb

Alan Shatter has had some strange bedfellows. The former Justice Minister has joined with former Financial Regulator chairman Jim Farrell as a backer of a lock-making company. Shatter and Farrell are both shareholders of Basta holdings, the parent company of Sligo lock and hinge maker Basta Parsons.

Shatter's stake is disclosed in his filing for the Oireachtas register of members interests.

He owns 3,500 shares in the business, which has received around €867,900 in government grants.

Enterprise Ireland owns a block of 200,000 shares in the company, with other shareholders including former Fine Gael MEP Mary Banotti.

Farrell owns 10,087 shares. The former banker joined the board of Citibank and Hewlett Packard Bank following the banking crisis. Shatter was, of course, the Justice Minister at the helm as the DPP's case against the Anglo three unfolded in recent weeks.

Farrell served on the board of the Financial Regulator from its foundation in 2003, becoming chairman in 2008, when replacing former Irish Times chairman Brian Patterson.

Whatever about Shatter's own position, things are hard in the lock-making business.

Even with a Justice Minister fond of locking people up.

Basta Parsons lost €423,000, according to its latest accounts.

It didn't pay a dividend to shareholders in 2012, although a modest enough €50,667 was paid out a year earlier.

Ulster Bank was owned close to €979,000 down from €1.4m a year earlier.

On the plus side for the former minister, property markets are looking up. Shatter has an interest in not one but 14 apartments ranging from Smithfield in Dublin to Naples Beach in Florida. His attention will now switch from cabinet to shoe box.

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