Rehab chief executive Angela Kerins… former Labour tánaiste Dick Spring, former European commissioner and Goldman Sachs executive Peter Sutherland, financier Dermot Desmond, and prominent businessmen Philip Lynch, Seán O’Driscoll of Glen Dimplex, and Cork-based developer Michael O’Flynn…
- “Disaster Capitalism” and Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein: “Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting in disaster zones, The Shock Doctrine vividly shows how disaster capitalism – the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock – did not begin with September 11, 2001.“
- “Ireland First” full text (via Social Justice Ireland)
- Some initial responses in Irish Times: ‘The United Left Alliance TD Joe Higgins described the report as “totally reactionary” and questioned the involvement of several of its participants. He said Mr Sutherland was involved with the “vampire bank itself, Goldman Sachs” while Mr Spring was a member of the Labour Party which had just agreed a programme for government with Fine Gael. “What is Dick Spring of the Labour Party doing getting involved in a report like this?”’
- Martin Ferris on the “Firesale” of state assets: “Labour have said that they will oppose privatisation while Fine Gael have indicated that they will look at the option of selling off state companies in whole or in part. Given that Brian Lenihan has admitted that the IMF has already met with Irish government officials to discuss the privatisation of state assets, and that this would be a live option as part of the IMF programme (Dáil PQ replies 231, 234, 235, January 12), any new government will have to make its position clear on this before it takes office. Sinn Féin is totally opposed to a fire sale of viable and valuable state assets as part of its principled and total opposition to the IMF/EU bailout.”
- Angela Kerins. “The chairwoman of the National Disability Authority (NDA), Angela Kerins, is also chief executive of Rehab, one of the largest disability service providers in the State. The authority last month awarded a €200,000 contract to Rehab Enterprises – a division of Rehab – for support and advice in relation to its “excellence through accessibility” awards.” Irish Times
- Dick Spring. Spring’s fund shorts the euro – Irish Independent: “Dick Spring is a director at a currency speculation fund manager that has made big money by shorting the euro. The government-nominated AIB public interest director and his colleagues at Alder Capital have made huge profits as financial markets savage the euro over fears that the EU may implode over Greek, Spanish and Portuguese debt mountains. The euro has tumbled against the dollar in recent weeks as speculators and hedge funds smell blood.”
- Dick Spring. AIB Wimps and Cute Hoors – Shane-Ross.ie: “…he was in a huddle with the other ‘public interest’ director, Dick Spring. Neither of these guys, nor any of their colleagues in the front row, uttered a word at the five-hour meeting. Instead, they all sat on their backsides looking important in their reserved seats, never held accountable… What hidden gems of genius do he and Dick Spring possess? Declan and Dick are well-qualified for AIB. They are cute hoors. Neither of them have bought a single share in AIB since their appointment in January 2009. What a wise investment decision. But does the State need directors who take €28,000 a year from its shareholders yet cannot spare a fraction of it to share their pain? Declan and Dick are in good company.”
- Goldman Sachs. The Great American Bubble Machine – Rolling Stone: “From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression — and they’re about to do it again… The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who’s Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.”
- Peter Sutherland. ZeroHedge on Sutherland – “Lack of revisionism is not too surprising coming from a person whose personal, and future, fortune, is based on the past generosity of American, and now Irish taxpayers. Because his wealth is certainly not due to his skill at anything related to his actual career.”
- Dermot Desmond. Politics.ie discussion: “Another great Irish patriot telling us all how to live while contributing bugger all. I think you’ll find that whilst Desmond maintains a residence here he is not resident for tax purposes. In point of fact it goes further than that… think you’ll find that people like Desmond aren’t even Irish citizens. This is certainly true of other “patriots” such as Limerick “Man of the Year” JP McManus who is a Swiss national, Michael Smurfit, a Monagasque, Tony O’Reilly, British, and Denis O’Brien, Cypriot. These people are a disgrace.”
- Philip Lynch. Philip Lynch ‘wowed’ by prospect of €19m profit – Irish Independent: “Wow, I owe you” was how leading businessman Philip Lynch responded when his personal assistant told him he stood to make €19m on a Waterford land deal in just two to three years at the height of the property boom. It was a massive profit, to be shared with his wife… and their four children… who were all brought in on the deal to buy 86 acres with property developer Gerry Conlan in 2006. And it was all the sweeter because it had cost Mr Lynch just €2.5m, which he had paid as a deposit for his 50pc share of the land. Together the Lynch family and Mr Conlan borrowed €25m from AIB to buy the land with the intention of selling it off in parcels after it was rezoned, quickly repaying back the loan and taking a handsome profit. The family claims the money was borrowed on a non-recourse basis, saying they believed AIB could take the land back to clear the loan if they were unable to repay it but could not pursue them individually for the funds. The bank denies this.
- Seán O’Driscoll. Glen Dimplex Boss Sean O’ Driscoll calls for five year pay freeze – Employment-Matters.ie
- Michael O’Flynn. O’Flynn: Media elevates economists to guru level – Irish Examiner (via PropertyPin.ie): “…Michael O’Flynn, managing director of one of the country’s biggest building firms, O’Flynn Construction, who said he accepts the right of the media to report on what economists are saying but said he has no time for “negative media economists”. He spoke of a lack of balance in reporting stories and said broadcast media is worst when it comes to dramatising the problems in property. O’Flynn Construction are the developers of the Elysian development in Cork and Mr O’Flynn said the apartments are being priced at today’s market price, adding that prices will not be coming down. He said that he is well aware the units won’t fetch the same prices as they would have a few years ago, adding that they will take longer to sell. Mr O’Flynn also said there’s no doubt that construction firms and property developers have done well over the last few years adding that most of these firms have reinvested in Ireland Inc. “The money isn’t gone and we’re still here,” he said yesterday.”
- Tiger Developments. Far-flung lands prove profitable havens for heavily-indebted developers – Irish Examiner: “Michael O’Flynn, the man behind the country’s tallest building — the Elysian Tower in Cork city — established Tiger Developments more than a decade ago to pursue property opportunities overseas. The organisation has, according to its website, concluded €1.18bn of transactions in Britain and over €200m in mainland Europe. Earlier this year, Mr O’Flynn secured an investment from a US equity group to develop a 435-student residence near Wembley in London, and in so doing became the first developer to conclude a deal even as his loans moved to NAMA. Being a NAMA builder, it would appear, is no reason to stop building”
- Tiger Developments. Fantastic Mr. Cox and Friends – Indymedia.ie: “…about five months later in December of 2007, Pat’s ship came in, when he was invited to join the board at the memorably-named Tiger Developments (originally formed as joint venture between O’Flynn Construction & Goodbody Stockbrokers in 1999). At about the same time that Irish roundabouts and country petrol stations had advertisements inviting the public to get in on the ground level with property expos for Romania, Bulgaria, and Spain, this Irish construction firm was doing their bit. As it happened, they had just opened an office in Riga, Latvia, and were seeking to expand into the former Soviet sphere of Eastern Europe and the Baltic States (after having conquered the UK and Germany.) Pat the Builder with his networking skills and knowledge base of the Wild East, was thus able to practice what he preached about expanding opportunity and stability on the eastern frontier of the EU, by making a – literally – concrete investment in solidarity. Although, if Pat does not record this on his current resumé, it is possible he is just too humble to boast. We might be forgiven for hoping, also, that the O’Flynn Construction buyout of Tiger shares from their previous Goodbody Stockbroker partners in 2006 – just as we were coming to the height of the Irish property bubble – did no harm at all to either Goodbody’s or their private clients involved, whoever they were.