Sunday 18 March 2018

The Punt: Attention, insomniacs

Conor Lenihan
Conor Lenihan

If you're hard up for reading - and I mean hard up - then you might want to enter a competition Ulster Bank is holding.

If you do, you're in with a chance of winning... wait for it... a copy of 'The Ulster Bank Story'.

Yes, that's right. Hold on to your hats, folks. The bank has four copies of the book to give away.

The really funny part about it is that the book stretches from 1836 up until 1998.

The real juicy years are those after 1998, in the lead up to the global financial crash. But it's probably not in the bank's interests to have those catalogued in detail in print.

Those years are referred to on the Ulster Bank website, where it talks about how the bank's growth and development allowed it to "take advantage" of the opportunities offered by the economic boom.

In its section dealing with 2005 onwards, the bank pointed out that the global financial crisis had affected all banks, and that Ulster and its parent company RBS was "critically exposed" to the downturn.

The Punt looks forward to the post-1998 story being told in print.

Perhaps then we might enter the competition to be in with a chance of being the lucky one to win one.

Details are available on the company's website.

Earwigging Lenihan

The Punt was waiting to meet someone last Friday afternoon and who should be seated at a nearby table in a city centre hotel, only Conor Lenihan.

The brother of the late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, and of course a former Minister of State, he lost his seat in 2011 and was then involved with the Skolkovo Foundation near Moscow, an organisation with strong business backing that's developing a major science hub. Lenihan left the foundation in 2013, but still has links to Russia, and is now also an adviser to Aaron Etingen, the owner of education provider Global University Systems.

At any rate, Lenihan appeared in fine fettle on Friday as he chatted away during his own meeting with two others. Naturally, The Punt was trying very hard to earwig on the conversation, but the economic recovery put paid to those efforts: the place started to fill with chattering, hungry tourists.

Lenihan is also following events a short stroll away at Leinster House. His aunt, Mary O'Rourke, said he may yet give evidence to the Banking Inquiry.

Sign of the times for DAA

Such a fuss over nothing, The Punt thinks.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) recently applied for planning permission to install a sort of metal box beside Terminal 2 that would be about 3.5 metres (11.5 feet) high by eight metres (36 feet) long.

It wanted to use it to provide a unique advertising space for third parties. The plans submitted to Fingal County Council show a Porsche car inside it, for instance. The DAA also suggested to planners that it could be used to advertise upcoming rugby events, for example.

But the council was having none of it.

"It is considered that the proposed development is not in accordance with the development plan and that the proposed structure is unnecessary and out of character with its surroundings," the planner's report says. "Depending on what is in the display, it may cause confusion."

The council insisted the box would look like it was dropped in as an afterthought.

The DAA was told by the council in a pre-planning meeting that the application wasn't appropriate, so the DAA obviously decided to apply and then let An Bord Pleanála decide. Which is exactly what is happening, with an appeal now formally lodged.

Irish Independent

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