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The Punt: Dear Diary .... Rothwell next


Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe

It's been interesting peeking at the diary of Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe.

Among those who got some of his private time over the past few months was Irish Continental Group (ICG) chief executive Eamonn Rothwell. He met the Minister, in the Department's HQ, on February 6.

No doubt they had plenty to talk about, with ICG, whose passenger ships sail under the Irish Ferries brand, a significant force on the Irish Sea between Ireland and Britain, both in tourism and trade.

It also plies the waves between Ireland and France.

Last year, ICG carried 1.64 million passengers, 4.8pc more than it did in 2013, while the amount of trucks and trailers it handled rising 6.7pc to 838,000 units.

Rothwell owns almost 15pc of ICG, a stake currently valued at over €111m - and that's apart from the tens of millions of euro that the former stockbroker has made via dividends and share buy backs at the company.

Yesterday, US investment giant Franklin Templeton informed the stock exchange that it had cut its stake in ICG - which it holds on behalf of shareholders including AIB, Deutsche Bank and others - to 10.53pc. It has reduced the holding from nearly 14.9pc in April.

None of that is likely to bother Rothwell much. The ferry boss is facing a buoyant summer season, with consumers spending again and strong sterling making Ireland an even more attractive holiday destination.

IBOA president steps down

Dave Keane, the President of the Irish Bank Officials Association (IBOA) is to step down from his post at the end of the month.

He is stepping down at the same time as his retirement from Bank of Ireland.

Mr Keane has been a member of the union for 44 years, since he began work at Bank of Ireland's Enniscorthy branch in 1971.

He worked in Bank of Ireland's Enniscorthy Branch for over 20 years before being seconded to Service Delivery

He has served as IBOA's Bank of Ireland Group Officer from 2005 until his accession to the Presidency of the Union in 2013.

In a tribute to Mr Keane, published in the IBOA's 'Spectrum' magazine for members, IBOA chief Larry Broderick said his distinguished career as a union activist had reached a climax in his tenure as president.

"A thoughtful and judicious advocate for his members, Keane acquired considerable experience in his 21 years at the most senior level in the IBOA," noted the tribute to him in the IBOA's 'Spectrum' magazine.

A fan of both golf and soccer, Mr Keane is said to be a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur.

We'll try not to hold that against him.

Brosnan gets Limerick gong

Former Kerry Group boss Denis Brosnan must have barely had time to touch his rashers in Limerick yesterday.

At a business breakfast in Limerick, he was awarded honorary life membership of the Limerick Chamber. He was the keynote speaker at the event, where president of the chamber, Catherine Duffy, said Brosnan's "vision, foresight, dedication and leadership skills" have brought prosperity and growth to the region.

A native of Kerry, Brosnan lives in Croom, Co Limerick. He has a thoroughbred stud farm there and has been closely involved in Ireland's equine sector. A strong supporter of the planned Aer Lingus takeover by IAG, he has surely riled some in the region who think Shannon is in danger of losing out under the proposal.

"The change in the region since 2008 has been transformative but everyone must keep their shoulder to the wheel," Brosnan warned his audience yesterday. "There will be no city in Ireland that will be as advanced as Limerick will be in a few years' time," he predicted. "The jobs created in this region in two to three years will be unprecedented."

Irish Independent