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O'Keeffe punts on johnnies

RUBBER johnnies and fags are miles ahead of the Irish banks when it comes to making money -- as some of those in the corridors of power have found out.

Outspoken Cork TD Ned O'Keeffe owns shares in SSL International which, as the company behind Durex, is one of the biggest manufacturers of condoms in the world.

O'Keeffe admitted that while his shares in SSL "didn't do too well" over the last year, "they held their own".

In contrast, O'Keeffe, who also has shares in AIB and Permanent TSB, said there were ups and down.

"I've lost at least €1m on my shares in the Irish banks over the last couple of years.

"My tobacco shares in British American Tobacco have done well though, as have my oil shares in BP."

O'Keeffe isn't the only TD to be burned by the collapse in Irish bank shares. Other ministers holding such shares include Mary Harney and Sean Haughey, according to the latest Dail register of interests, which was published last week.

And Fine Gael finance spokesman Richard Bruton has shares in the beleaguered Anglo Irish Bank.

Some TDs have been a bit more imaginative in their choice of investments. Alan Shatter, the Fine Gael spokesman on children, owns shares in Aran Candy, the firm behind gourmet jelly beans.

Cork south-west's Jim O'Keeffe has shares in Alstom, which is building a power plant in the Amazon.

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