Wednesday 13 December 2017

The Punt: 'Classy economist' Lars Frisell takes his place in the sun

Economist Lars Frisell
Economist Lars Frisell

THE Central Bank's office on Dame Street provides a great view over Dublin, perhaps the best view that the Punt has seen from offices in the capital although the Eircom offices near Heuston Station come a close second.

But on a grim, rainy day like the one we endured in the capital yesterday, it must be difficult for chief economist Lars Frisell to keep his mind on the job.

He's no doubt counting down the days until he jets-off to his new posting with the International Monetary Fund in sunny Mauritius.

The Swedish economist leaves the Central Bank next month and at his final press conference yesterday, Governor Patrick Honohan paid tribute, dubbing him a "classy economist".

"I thought at first that it was maybe because we don't have enough snow and ice," Professor Honohan said, trying to explain yet another departure from Dame Street.

"As you know, Lars is a very classy economist, a really good manager, he's brought a lot to the team in the short time that he's here.

We aim high when we hire and we get high, but we don't necessarily get high for very long so I'm sorry to lose Lars."

There's no update on his replacement as yet, or whether it will come from within or outside the bank.

Speaking of insider appointments, Gillian Phelan has been appointed head of monetary policy, replacing Mark Cassidy who has moved to head the financial stability division. Phelan was formerly the deputy head of the monetary policy section.


Departure time for worker directors at DAA

A bit of a reshuffle has been going on at the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), as two of its worker directors make way for two new faces at the top table. Those who have left include Mary McCabe, who joined the DAA in 1998, working as a cleaner at the airport operator. She turned 65 last month. Conor Swords (33) has also resigned as a director. He was appointed to the board just a year ago under worker participation legislation.

He also joined the DAA in 1998 and worked in retail, terminal services and airside operations. In his studies he specialised in organisational change and development.

Ms McCabe had first joined the board in 2008 and was reappointed the following year. She has represented the cleaning department at the DAA at a local and branch level under Siptu for over 10 years. Joining the board are airport police and fire officer Eric Nolan (32), who works at Cork Airport, and Denis Smyth (55), an airport duty manager in Dublin. Mr Nolan is a Labour candidate for Cork County Council in May. If elected, he'll have plenty on his plate between juggling the day job, being a politician and sitting on one of the country's most important state boards.


Lidl expansion good news for building firms

The Punt was interested to see that Lidl's Irish arm has registered a mortgage charge in favour of BNP Paribas. Signed by the German retailer and French bank last month, its shows that land and property in Dun Laoghaire, Kanturk, Portarlington and Tullow in Carlow are just a few of those that are registered under the charge.

It also reveals a number of contractors who've worked on building its stores at locations around the country (it has over 120). Northern Ireland-based Tinnelly Construction is one of them. The Co Down firm is owned by Gerard Tinnelly. In the financial year to the end of May last year, its turnover dropped 58pc to £6.7m (€8.1m) and it made a £380,000 (€460,000) profit. Two other big beneficiaries of the Lidl expansion have included John Sisk & Son and BAM Building.

The latter is part of BAM Construction, one of the country's largest contractors. The Dutch-owned firm, formerly Ascon, has worked on projects in Ireland with companies such as Google. John Sisk & Son is Ireland's biggest contractor. But it's been hit by strife with Polish road building contracts and shouldered losses of €98m over two years because it said hadn't been paid by the Polish government. At least the Germans pay on time, no doubt.

Irish Independent

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