Thursday 14 December 2017

Shane Ross: Tax chief ducks political crossfire

Feisty Form: Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, Josephine Feehily
Feisty Form: Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, Josephine Feehily

Gentle Josephine. Michael Noonan has a way with the women. Not that he is a ladies' man. Far from it. No gossip surrounds the Minister for Finance, but he has a reputation for rapport with the fairer sex. It is common knowledge in Leinster House that he has a Fine Gael female fan club. They find him one of the most approachable ministers. He is patient and popular. His sense of humour makes him excellent company.

No one on God's earth has been photographed more often with the minister than the current IMF head, the ever elegant, Christine Lagarde. Their paths have crossed in recent weeks as Michael sought her views on the end of the bailout. Two years ago, he was constantly knocking on her door when she was Nicolas Sarkozy's minister for finance. The cameras always caught the chemistry.

Last Monday night, the minister had a pretty important rendezvous. This time it was with the engaging chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, Josephine Feehily. A rendezvous with a Revenue chief hardly sounds like rock and roll, but judging by her appearance at the Oireachtas Finance Committee on Thursday she could be pretty good craic. So is Michael.

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