Wednesday 17 January 2018

A civil servant who likes to dine out in style






Kevin Cardiff has been at the centre of a media storm for over a week now, with his candidacy for a top European appointment still in question. Roundly blamed by politicians on all sides for the €3.6bn accounting error in his department, his desk diary since the start of the year gives a fascinating insight into his working day.

Mr Cardiff's day-to-day activities include the usual meetings with other officials within his department and ministers, but also include meetings with business leaders, union chiefs and journalists.

Of course there were the meetings with the troika officials during their various reviews so far. The names of Ajai Chopra, Istvan Szekely and Klaus Masuch (our three overlords) are littered throughout the diary.

So are the names of the financial regulator Matthew Elderfield, NTMA boss John Corrigan and NAMA chairman Frank Daly.

But Mr Cardiff is a fan of eating well and lunches and dinners in some of Dublin's finest eateries are recorded in the diary.

There was lunch with British Ambassador Julian King at One Pico, lunch with the Singapore High Commissioner Michael Teo in the Cliff Townhouse and a lunch with senior counsel Paul O'Higgins at the Kings Inns. But it is not surprising that two of the restaurants in closest proximity to the Department of Finance, Pearl Brasserie and the Cellar Bar at the Merrion Hotel, feature prominently. Added to this were a host of black-tie dinners including the annual civil service top-brass bash.

Mr Cardiff also met with a number of top British civil servants, including Gus O'Donnell, before and during the Queen's visit in March. There were also a number of conversations with Sir Robert Large, a former top dog in the Treasury in London. He advised the Government during the bank guarantee and financial crisis.

Such meetings have fuelled talk about a new UK-Irish alliance in the event of the euro collapsing, but both sides were saying nothing this weekend.

While those around him say he has been subjected to a "witch hunt" in recent days, Mr Cardiff has not been shy in speaking to the media so far this year. He was interviewed by Irish Times journalist Simon Carswell, no doubt in relation to his book on Anglo Irish Bank.

Irish Independent business editor Maeve Dineen also enjoyed an audience with Mr Cardiff, as did economics writer Pat McArdle. Mr Cardiff was interviewed for a BBC documentary on Ireland's financial crash and entry into the bailout.

He also spoke on a number of times to leading economist Philip Lane of Trinity College Dublin.

Sunday Independent

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