Saturday 20 January 2018

The Punt: UCC takes Kathleen home for doctorate gong

Kathleen Murphy
Kathleen Murphy

Not long after bestowing its highest honour on austerity pusher Manuel Barroso, University College Cork is once again handing out honorary doctorates. Among the four recipients in this latest round is a particularly interesting character – Kathleen Murphy, the head of personal investing at Fidelity Investments.

Ms Murphy (pictured) is a serious hitter despite being relatively unknown on these shores. She has repeatedly been named one of the "50 most powerful women in business" by 'Fortune' magazine, finding good company alongside the likes of Yahoo chief executive Marissa Meyer and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. She's a 25-year industry veteran who oversees a business with more than $1.5tr in client assets under administration and more than 14m customer accounts. She's also a popular TED talker.

It's no surprise, then, that we've managed to claim her as our own. She joins Kurt Cobain, astronaut Neil Armstrong and Barack O'Bama as public figures who we Irish have managed to find some tenuous link to. "She's third generation Irish American!" proclaims UCC – her father's family is from Cork, while her mother's family is from Kerry.


THE criticism of the "fawning" reception US tycoon Donald Trump got on his arrival in this country recently came to mind when the Punt was in New York for a short break.

Mr Trump touched down in Ireland on an airplane bearing his name in enormous letters and was met by a string quartet in full evening wear, a red carpet and Finance Minister Michael Noonan as he disembarked from his plane.

The tycoon is aiming to create "hundreds of jobs" at his Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland, at Doonbeg, Co Clare. And he is promising to invest €45m in this country.

But many felt the welcome accorded the billionaire was the worst kind of forelock tugging.

That is not something that would be said about Mr Trump in the City That Never Sleeps.

In NYC it is hard to get away from his name. Many skyscraper buildings bear his moniker. Trump is involved with all aspects of the American company's real estate and hotel management initiatives.

But it was interesting for the Punt in New York to see the Trump name feature also in fashion shops.

His daughter Ivanka Trump has given her name to a range of fragrances, footwear, handbags, outerwear and eyewear collections.

But the real surprise was to see designer shirts labelled Donald Trump in fashion stores all along Fifth Avenue.

It seems that New Yorkers can't get enough of the Trumps. Americans are happy to celebrate success.

We, on the other hand, are sensitive to been seen to be too obsequious. A clash of cultures, if ever there was one.


EAMON Gilmore's demise as party leader is being replicated elsewhere in Europe as austerity supporting political groupings bear the brunt of an angry voter backlash.

In Greece yesterday, Fotis Kouvelis, of the country's Democratic Left party (DIMAR), announced his resignation as party leader, citing his party's results as the main reason for his departure.

DIMAR was in the coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' New Democracy Conservatives and the PASOK Socialists but left last year.

But before that, Mr Kouvelis backed harsh austerity measures which were perceived to be against the party's core values. And like Labour here, they dearly paid for it in the weekend polls. Democratic Left got 1.2pc in last Sunday's EU election, versus the 6.26pc secured in last national elections. The result meant that it failed to elect any politician to the European Parliament.

The Punt believes that regardless of how you feel about his time in government, Mr Gilmore's decision to step down so quickly instead of getting into a dirty fight amid a heave, possibly damaging the country's stability, showed character and should be applauded.


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