Business Irish

Monday 11 November 2019

The Punt: Sinn Fein not walking the talk

Mario Draghi.
Mario Draghi.

AND isn't it ironic, as singer Alanis Morissette once asked. (Yes, The Punt was a fan many years ago)

Sinn Fein's EU candidate for Ireland South, Liadh Ni Riada, has hit out at University College Cork for planning to confer an honourary degree on European Commission bogeyman, er ... I mean ... President, Jose Manuel Barroso, pictured, next week.

Ironically, she pointed out that Mr Barroso's planned 25-minute address won't be an engagement, but will be "more of a monologue".

Pot calling the kettle black just a small bit, we think. Ms Ni Riada's own statement was hardly brief.

She made sure to nail home her message bluntly, with the right level of outrage.

Unfortunately it wasn't terribly succinct, at 12 paragraphs. She even surmised how UCC would justify the decision, and then attacked that justification. Very efficient.

Then again, it is election season and politicians have to be seen to be shouting about things. The angrier the better.


Having been a keen poker player on the international circuit, Shane Reihill must be thankful that Dalata has at last come up trumps.

In 1997, Mr Reihill established investment firm TVC, where he's executive chairman, and which was one of the main investors in the Dalata hotel group when it was founded by Pat McCann, below, in 2007.

But the subsequent crash saw TVC, which is listed on the stock market and nearly 28pc-owned by Mr Reihill, write down all but €2m of its €10m investment in Dalata. Now it looks as if its original faith in the hotel venture will end up paying out on the river, to borrow a poker phrase.

In fact, it's been a good time all round for TVC of late. This week, it also sold 7.6m shares in broadcaster TVC for €22.1m, helping it to recoup its entire €27.3m original investment and leaving it with a 10pc stake in UTV, valued at about €29m.

The Punt has been to many cosy TVC results briefings over the years (one where The Punt was the only media attendee, if memory serves), where Mr Reihill never really had anything to report. Now it's as if all the buses are coming along together. Just typical.


THE Punt gets inundated with PR guff from universities boasting about how they foster future business leaders and entrepreneurs.

No doubt it is true to some extent, but watching the 'Pioneers and Aviators' documentary on RTE last night, the Punt can't help wondering where is today's equivalent of aircraft giant GPA?

Successful Irish corporations like Smurfit, CRH and Kerry have turned out plenty of successful managers over the years, but GPA, despite – maybe because of – its disastrous 1992 stock market flotation, is in a league of its own. Tony Ryan's Co Clare company left an entire industry in its wake – the global aircraft leasing business is one of the few dominated by Irish firms and personalities.

Ryanair, probably Europe's most important new consumer company of the past 30 years, was developed almost in passing by its founder.

The documentary featured the likes of IFSC- based Peter Barrett of SMBC Aviation and Avolon's Domhnall Slattery, both one-time GPA cubs and now big dogs in their own right in the aircraft business globally. Denis O'Brien and Michael O'Leary, below, both cut their teeth working closely with Ryan.

In its prime, GPA was noted for the heavyweights on its board, but it was Tony Ryan's younger hires who really took flight after the brand vanished. Business schools eat your hearts out.

And where is today's nursery for pluto- crats?

Irish Independent

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