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Michael O'Doherty: After the lectures, time to suck it up, Ivan


KARMA is a cruel mistress.

It might have occurred to Ivan Yates that his point blank refusal to give up a taxpayer-funded ministerial pension of €50k a year, though he voluntarily walked away from politics 10 years ago, might one day come back to haunt him.

And come back it did, with a vengeance, as it was announced that his family-owned firm, Celtic bookmakers, was going into receivership with debts of €6m.

Only two months ago, Yates went on a RTE chat show, and was happy to let himself be introduced as a successful, wealthy businessman, though he was patently nothing of the sort. He was also content to repeat his oft-quoted mantra about the fact that he was doing nothing wrong in continuing to sponge off the taxpayer, though he claims he was in favour of legislation being brought in which would remove it from him.

Well, fate has taken the lead, and rather than waiting for Yates to give up one of his three salaries, one of them has given up on him.

It seems cruel to pick on someone when they're down, especially when their woes could lead to such substantial job losses. But as a radio presenter on Newstalk who regularly raged about waste in government expenditure (of which Ivan was a major beneficiary), he must take his own medicine without complaint.

And is he doing this? Well, is it just me who finds the detail that Yates has gone into when describing his bank guarantees to be a bit light on information?

According to Ivan, his own house in Dublin, the home of his 78-year-old mother in Enniscorthy, and the ancestral family home and farm that's been in the family for four generations are all under threat. I'm sorry, but did Yates really need to mention his 78-year-old mother? Does it not smack of trying to tug at the public's heartstrings by conjuring up this appalling image of her potentially being evicted?

In case you've forgotten, Ivan, you made a big deal on your last RTE appearance of accepting personal responsibility, which is why you had no qualms about people drinking and gambling. So now it's time for you to suck it up...


And let me do more of what Ivan is so good at on his radio show, and point out the obvious. Yates blames the downturn in the economy -- the fact that people were now betting €2 rather than €20 -- for his company's woes.

Well, last time I checked, his direct competitor, Paddy Power, was doing very nicely thank you. Most incredibly of all, if Ivan genuinely did foresee his business troubles two years ago, why the hell did he take up a full-time job in Newstalk?

Wouldn't his time have been better spent in Celtic Bookmakers, working flat out to save the company?

Yates also appeared on a RTE programme to trace his ancestral roots. And on that show, Ivan discovered that two of his ancestors, both Quakers, had been disowned by their church because their businesses had failed.

And so, not for the first time, history has repeated itself.

You'd have got good odds on that happening from most good bookies. Though not in Celtic Bookmakers, obviously.