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The Punt: Musical chairs at Revenue

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The Revenue Commissioners need to say sorry to a large group of pensioners who have been overcharged as a result of holding both State and private pensions

The Revenue Commissioners need to say sorry to a large group of pensioners who have been overcharged as a result of holding both State and private pensions

The Revenue Commissioners need to say sorry to a large group of pensioners who have been overcharged as a result of holding both State and private pensions

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday named Gerry Harrahill as one of the country's Revenue Commissioners.

The decision means Harrahill is now among just three people who can be appointed as chairman of the Revenue Commissioners by Finance Minister Michael Noonan in January when Josephine Feehily formally retires from the position to devote all her energies to her new job as chairwoman of the new Policing Authority.

Harrahill hails from Castleiney near Templemore in Tipperary and has been an assistant secretary in Revenue since 2003 where he headed up the then newly-established South West Region. He was collector general for seven and a half years and has been responsible for corporate affairs and the customs division since 2012.

Many businesses will recognise the name with gratitude because it was his (printed) signature that graced cheques with tax rebates. Harrahill has also worked in a number of departments including Environment, Transport and Communications but keeps a low profile on LinkedIn where he has just three connections.

Who, the Punt, wonders could they be?

Uber nerd makes mistake

All sorts seem to be taking aim at journalists these days. Some of them even live overseas. The latest is Emil Michael, the senior vice-president at driver-hailing company Uber who told a private dinner in New York that Uber should consider hiring investigators to look into the personal lives of critical journalists.

Michael is clearly a gung-ho fellow so it may be no surprise that the former Goldman Sachs employee has links to the defence industry. He has skydived with US paratroopers while a special assistant to US defence secretary Robert Gates from 2009 to 2011.

The post brought him to countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia and undoubtedly helped him become a member of the Pentagon's Defence Business Board which allows private sector companies to advise the US military. A graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School, he is fluent in Arabic and once said that one of his memorable experiences included having dinner with the president of Pakistan at his palace.

In a 2010 White House publication detailing his experiences as a fellow, he boasted he was "able to interact with all manner of top [US] generals and world leaders". What a shame that this gifted communicator will find it so difficult to "interact" with simple reporters in future to talk up his firm.

The boys of Wexford

We can hold our heads up down under again. The relocation of hefty numbers of young Irish people to Australia since the start of the financial crash has prompted a certain amount of negative coverage - with claims of boozed-up brats abroad.

The reality though is that most youngsters leave here looking for a fair shot, and in Australia many have found it.

Thirty-year-old Fethard- on-Sea, Co Wexford, native Declan White is making a name for himself in Australia's still busy construction sector.

The graduate of Limerick Institute of Technology has been in Western Australia since 2008 and launched his company Monford Group in 2010.

It now has an annual turnover of Aus$50m (€34.7m) and employs 180 people in six offices across the country.

After cutting his teeth as an employee and supervisor in the tough mining industry in remote Western Australia, White went out on his own, winning a contract to supply workers for a massive construction project and building up the business from there.

While he remains plugged into the Irish community - not least as a ready source of willing workers - his success is a reminder to policy makers at home.

Time abroad can be personally fulfilling, but we're mad if we imagine that many young people who find success abroad won't be able to resist the lure of home.

And foolish if we think we can succeed without our best and brightest.

Irish Independent