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PAPER PROPHET Cathal O'Shannon

WHAT car do you drive and do you still have a no claims bonus?

From my flash days as an RTE reporter I have descended from a red MGB GT to a modest Nissan Almera, which is more suited to my great age. But I maintain my no claims bonus, as should befit an old gent.

What was your first job and salary?

I joined the Royal Air Force at the age of 16 for one golden guinea a week. This was rapidly increased by Japanese campaign pay of eight rupees a week when I went to Burma to fight the fearsome foe. But in those days booze and fags were cheap or free.

At what times do you start and finish work?

Work? I've forgotten what it is! When you reach your mid-70s, a day's labour is often only a memory.

Do you conduct any business online?

I can use my PC - sort of. Old farts like me continue to be amazed just how much and varied information of all sorts you can get online for free. Yes, I use the PC for all sorts of info, including even recipes.

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance?

The one who will continue to increase my Old Age Pension annually and who will keep his greedy hands off what little property I own. The terrible thing about being an Oldie is that, like policemen, ministers for finance and everyone else all seem so bloody young!

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Do you have a will?

Too bloody true! And I'm thinking of changing it at the moment!

What are your favourite TV and radio programmes?

I am a lifelong viewer of Coronation Street, which I recognise from my childhood, my mother being a native of a Lancashire cotton-mill town. I also watch anything about military history, especially World War II, with which I had a brief brush.

What type of credit card do you have and do you ever borrow on it?

I have the usual clatter of cards from Visa to Amex to Diners. No, I never borrow on them and my wife is forever suggesting I get rid of half of them.

Are you ever overdrawn or always in credit?

The same wife, God bless her, makes sure I am never overdrawn, and she took away my chequebook years ago and also cancelled my Hole in the Wall thingy.

Do you know exactly how much you are worth?

Sort of, though not to the penny. I've never been thrifty, but now and then I'm tempted by offers to buy my house, which, like so many others in Dublin 4, have shot ridiculously up in recent years.

Today would you invest in property, shares, cash or other?

My wife has always been something of a bond fiend, but investment as a way of making money has never appealed to me. You earn your crust by the sweat of your brow.

Favourite restaurant?

Alas, there are few places left as good to eat in the old-fashioned, decent way in which Sunday lunch is served up as in Hunter's Hotel in the County Wicklow. Mrs Gelletlie is a monument to all that is worth saving in Irish cuisine.

Where do you holiday?

London, Paris, almost anywhere in France. If I had the money I would go back to Barbados and Phuket in Thailand - and I'd like to see Burma again, though we all hated it in the war.

Greatest sporting moment?

I have never been a sportsman and cannot fathom the rules of almost any ball game.

Do you belong to any clubs?

St Stephen's Green Club and the RDS.

Which businessman/woman do you most admire?

Tony Ryan because of what he managed to do in the early days of GPA and for Ryanair, and because he once offered me a job which I foolishly didn't take - and because he made a few people I know millionaires.

Do you have a computer at your desk?


What's your business ambition?

To be as comfortably well off as the bulk of my neighbours - all too many of whom are in the supertax bracket.

How did you do in the Leaving Cert?

It was to avoid doing the Leaving Cert that I joined the RAF in 1945 - that and the fact that I detested the school I went to, Colaiste Mhuire in Parnell Square.

How long is left to pay on your mortgage?

Paid off a long time ago.

Best moment in business

To be offered a job by Alcan at five times the salary that I was getting in RTE at the time.

What is your salary?

You're looking at an OAP here!

Who makes the decisions in your house? You or your partner/spouse?

I make the good ones! The others? My invaluable and clever wife.

Who are your friends?

The young, rail-climbing north Dubliners that I grew up with in Marino, Donnycarney, Fairview and Drumcondra. A few of them made a few bob and lost it, but more still have their confirmation money - plus!

Cathal O'Shannon is Cathal O'Shannon and stuff

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