Saturday 25 January 2020

'Energy-efficiency is most intelligent way to save cash'


Eamon Ryan Pic: Tom Burke
Eamon Ryan Pic: Tom Burke Business

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan was born in Dublin and raised in Dundrum and Dartry. In the 2016 General Election, he was elected to represent Dublin Bay South.

He began his political career as a Dublin city councillor. He then went on to serve both as a TD for Dublin South and was Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources from 2007 to 2011. He is married to the writer Victoria White and they have four children.

What is the most important lesson about money which your career as a politician has taught you?

Taking my career in general - rather than politics specifically - I have learnt not to follow the money. Instead, follow your instinct in terms of what you want to do. Think of the bigger picture and the money will look after itself.

What is the best 'green' way to save money?

Energy-efficiency. It's the first and most intelligent way to save money. The best thing you can do is to insulate your home. There is a triple benefit to it. You save money on heating bills. You have an incredibly comfortable home. And when you come to sell your property in 10 to 20 years' time, the BER (Building Energy Rating) will still be high, and so you should get a higher return for your asset.

What is your favourite Irish coin?

The old 50p with the woodcock on it. I liked the use of animals on coins - there was something simple and elegant about it.

Are you better off than your parents?

I've been lucky to be quite similar to my parents, in a way. In general, though, it's becoming more difficult for people to live as well as our parents did - because of the price of property today.

Apart from property, what is the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

The most lavish mid-life crisis thing I've ever bought was a very fancy surfboard. I don't regret it, though. I'm a hopeless surfer, but my board looks really good!

What is the most expensive country you have ever visited?

London can be remarkably expensive - because it has become Russian oligarch territory.

What was your worst job?

I worked for a merchant bank in the City of London in the 80s. I got the job because I had a commerce degree. I was winging it. I remember being given massive reams of data to reconcile and not being able for it.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

In 1994, I had the opportunity to buy a property in Merrion Square for about €300,000. At the last minute, I didn't do it. In some ways, I regret that - but in other ways, I think I was lucky. Still, I can't go around Merrion Square without passing that property and thinking what I could have got it for.

What was your best financial killing?

When I was 17, a school friend of mine advised me to put a bet on Ben Nevis in the 1980 Grand National. The odds were 40 to 1 - and the horse won.

Android or iPhone?

I'm Android, but I'm tempted to ditch it, as I'm told iPhone is more secure in terms of privacy.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

Yes - after a house fire.

iTunes or Spotify?

I'm too old for all of that! I listen to the radio.

What was the last thing you bought online?

A book. I buy a lot of books online.

What is the most expensive thing about being a parent?

School and college fees.

Would you buy Irish property now?

Yes - but I'd only buy it for a purpose, such as for family or business. I wouldn't buy it as an investment. As a country, we've gone beyond the days of speculating on property.

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