Thursday 23 January 2020

Sinéad Ryan: 'Don't bank on our financial watchdog to get sums right'


'There are only 100 desks for every 120 workers.' (stock photo)
'There are only 100 desks for every 120 workers.' (stock photo)

Sinéad Ryan

Were you one of the lucky ones who got an extended break over the festive season and returned to your office only this week, welcomed back by dismal bits of tinsel hanging off your desk and a long dead Christmas tree in the corner? Well count yourself lucky; at least you have a desk.

As you bin the baubles and dried-out holly, spare a thought for the poor workers at the Central Bank whose ultimate recycling move to the derelict Anglo Irish Bank building, without even a whiff of irony, has resulted in the staff being left short of somewhere to sit.

Evidently the €7m purchase and €140m fit-out left the coffers of the trendy cashless bank (insert your own joke here) bereft. There are only 100 desks for every 120 workers. The union has been drafted in to address this outrage while the 1,800 staff scramble of a morning to play musical chairs for the 1,500 spaces available. Bless their well-padded bank accounts.

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But perhaps the workers should be reminded how on trend they are. The new 2020 office vibe is hot-desking. Hundreds of companies use it, as e-working and holiday/illness rosters make it extremely rare to have 100pc of staff in every day. It forces everyone to keep their space cleared of clutter and thankfully free of personal mementos and mouldy coffee cups.

Surely the battered taxpayer can expect a bit of a run on the bank… er, in the bank, for its generous spend?

After all, we've already coughed up for the magnificently swish erection, complete with golden plates soaring up over the Liffey to remind us all who's in charge of the country's finances… which would be the ECB of course!

#Veganuary ignores hard-to-swallow truths

I'm not 'doing' Veganuary. Sorry, that should be #Veganuary. If it has a hashtag it must be important, right?

The reason is I don't want to. I might have given it a go, but the painful virtue signalling from all the tree huggers has put me right off my lentils. Like most people, I have a New Year's resolution to 'eat healthier', consume more veg and less red meat. I'm good like that.

But watching all the woke hipsters who've been hoodwinked by the thing, I wonder how many of them have actually noticed that the asparagus they're lovingly preparing is from Peru, the blueberries from Argentina or that the banana for their breakfast smoothie is flown in from Africa. Those juicy, healthy red tomatoes and luscious peppers were grown under a massive polytunnel with pumped-in heating and fake-solar energy probably in Spain. There's no planet being saved there, least of all ours.

Or perhaps they haven't yet realised that while the carbon footprint of raising a cow is admittedly pretty big, the fuel required to get their veg here is even bigger. That tiny packet of fruit, most of which will end up in the bin, costs more per pip than a fillet steak.

...But we do make a meal of it when forking out

New Eurostat figures are obviously evidence that we Irish love nothing better than a good old moan about how the country is falling apart … over a nice steak dinner.

We're at the top table with 14.4pc of our income spent on eating out. The EU average is just 7pc and even France, the epitome of cafe culture, spends just 5.9pc while Poland and Romania languish at 3pc and 1.9pc respectively.

And before the whiners complain about menu prices and rip off restaurants, remember folks, you have a choice.

We all do. About everything.

Irish Independent

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