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Rubbing shoulders with the enemy

ONE man who can't be accused of underestimating China's importance is Richard Barrett of Treasury Holdings.

Mr Barrett told the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle last year that everybody here should be learning Mandarin.

His partner in Treasury Holdings, the swashbuckling Johnny Ronan, has meanwhile been busy erecting Chinese walls of his own.

Relationships between landlords and tenants are often fraught, but it is difficult to think of a trickier relationship than the one between landlord Johnny Ronan and his tenant -- the National Treasury Management Agency, which also houses NAMA.

The developer is in the strange position of being both the landlord of the National Asset Management Agency and one of the agency's biggest clients -- or whatever it is that NAMA calls developers whose loans it controls.

This has not stopped Ronan from recently moving back into his private office which is located in the same Treasury Building, where NAMA resides.

This means that Ronan and NAMA officials share the same marble halls and chrome lifts as they make their respective ways to work every morning.

Just what Ronan thinks of the officials who forced him to sell his private jet after a famous flight to Morocco last year is not known.

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