newbridge
shorthop

From top: Newbridge train station; the Short Hop Zone

When is a commuter town not a commuter town?

When the Dart says so.

Patricia Callinan writes:

The Labour Party in Kildare is running a petition seeking fair train fares for Newbridge commuters.

It currently costs €3.56 to travel from Heuston to Sallins.

It costs almost 4 times more (€15.05) to go the final 7 minutes to Newbridge – a very expensive 7 minutes of travel.

The reason: Newbridge is not in the official ‘Short Hop Zone’ (the Dublin area rail network) despite clearly being a commuter town in the Dublin area

Fight!

Sign petition here

Pic: Leinster Leader/ Irish Rail

Newstalkinm

tonygroves

From top: Newstalk and INM logo; Tony Groves

You have to ask yourself that if I wanted to sell something to myself, for more than it’s worth, in order to pay myself from the over-inflated price, would that be okay with the Companies Act?

Tony Groves writes:

Back in the Halcyon Days of the Celtic Tiger, I remember coming across a particularly complex (and not a little brilliant) version of the common practise of Cheque Kiting.

Cheque Kiting, for those of you unfamiliar, is where an individual has two (or more) accounts in different banks. He writes a cheque to himself (this first cheque is called the kite) from Bank A and lodges it into Bank B.

The following day (taking advantage of Bank B’s lax clearing system) writes a cheque to himself from Bank B and lodges it to Bank A.

These artificial funds are then lodged; allowing the first cheque to clear. The cycle then repeats, typically escalating the amounts until he is either caught, cleans out the accounts and runs, or lodges legitimate funds to cover the Kite.

The case I came across was based on the circular kite model, but due to the involvement of several individuals (over 10) and spread across every retail bank in the country at that time it was not easily discovered.

The seemingly reasonable monies involved in the cheques, the various clearing cycles of the banks and the fact that there was several people involved made detection next to impossible for any one bank. It really was well constructed and went on for months.

When the fraud was eventually spotted (due to address irregularities) and the kites crashed to earth, the Banks had been taken for several thousand euro. It really was a significant amount of money and I’m not sure any of the participants were ever brought to justice.

I recall seeing the last transactions on one accounts involved; it was a Laser Card purchase in Dublin Airport. So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu…

When I read earlier how Independent News and Media Chief Executive Robert Pitt had made a Protected Disclosure regarding Denis O’Brien’s attempts to sell a company he owns (Newstalk, part of his Communicorp empire) to a Company (Independent News & Media) where he is the major shareholder, I had a flashback.

We know very little about the deal. But I suspect a Protected Disclosure wasn’t made lightly.

Whatever was in the Disclosure seems to have triggered the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement’s involvement.

It is also well known that the two parties could not agree on the price, with INM wanting to pay less than Communicorp are asking for.

We also understand from reports that if the higher price had been be agreed, Denis O’Brien stood to receive a “significant payout”.

I don’t want to go into the individuals involved and their links with Mr O’Brien, they are available here.

But I do wonder about company law, specifically the laws around conflicts of interest and the Fitness & Probity Standards.

You have to ask yourself that if I wanted to sell something to myself, for more than it’s worth, in order to pay myself from the over-inflated price, would that be okay with the Companies Act?

Even if it is legal, are the conflicts of interest not such that it would call into question individual’s fitness to operate public broadcasting licences?  I don’t know. Nobody is really saying what did or did not nearly happen.

We know there was a falling out. We hear rumours of resignations. None of it looks good from a Corporate Responsibility viewpoint. Particularly given Denis O’Brien’s ability to have a “chilling effect” on democracy.

There are many kites floating out in the air here. Like all complex kites the cords become tangled and it’s difficult to know who caused the entire thing to crash to earth. I still laugh at the audacity of the Cheque Kite I was caught out by.

I look regularly agog at the audacity of Denis O’Brien, none more so than in his attempt to sell his company to his other company. What has all this got to do with Cheque Kiting? Maybe nothing; it just makes you think, doesn’t it…

Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld

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The Irish Times reports:

A knife-wielding assailant who stabbed a policeman inside the perimeter of Britain’s parliament has reportedly been shot by police.

There was a major security alert at the Palace of Westminster in London after a man apparently carrying a knife charged through the gates into the front yard of the parliamentary compound.

After the incident, two people were seen to be lying within Old Palace Yard, immediately outside Westminster Hall.

Meanwhile, a number of injured people were seen lying injured on Westminster Bridge near parliament. It is understood a car hit a number of people near the bridge.

Knifeman reportedly shot by police at House of Commons (The Irish Times)

Pic: Sky News

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The AAIU in consultation with An Garda Siochana, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the GSI and the Marine Institute wish to advise that following Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations the wreckage of R116 has been positively located on the sea bed on the Eastern side of Black Rock, at a depth of approximately 40m. Operations are continuing but are weather dependent.

A statement released by the Air Accident Investigation Unit this afternoon.

Wreckage of Rescue 116 found off Mayo coast (RTE)

Pic: Pat McGrath

 

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From top: Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy; Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald; Taoiseach Enda Kenny; Fine Gael TD and Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor

Further to reported allegations that IDA Ireland has blocked more than 50 potential job creators from accessing a cash reward via Connect Ireland – an initiative that came out of the Global Irish Economic Forum in 2011- for introducing foreign firms to invest in Ireland…

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy raised the issue with Taoiseach Enda Kenny during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon – and in his response Mr Kenny once again said he was accused of clogging up the roads in Cork for all the jobs he’s created.

He made this jobs/traffic claim during Leaders’ Questions on February 21 and during the Friends of Ireland lunch with US president Donald Trump at Capitol Hill, Washington last week.

From Ms Murphy and Mr Kenny’s exchange…

Catherine Murphy: “Taoiseach, during Priority Questions, to Minster Mitchell O’Connor back in February, I asked about the anomalies emerging between IDA and Connect Ireland. There’d been a number of articles in the Sunday Business Post, which cause me to question what had actually transpired between the two agencies and if this is likely to result in the State, in a cost to the State, because of the disagreement.”

“A reply to me, the minister told me that she couldn’t go into detail because there was an ongoing legal dispute between the parties. Yesterday, the jobs committee heard allegations that Connect Ireland were possibly stymied in creating jobs in what sounds essentially like a turf war.”

“On the other side, IDA have noted that Connect Ireland failed to, by a long shot, to reach the target set in the number of jobs created, or the scheme was set to create. Whichever side is correct, the fact remains that there is a significant and fundamental difference between the jobs numbers claimed by both the IDA and Connect Ireland.”

“A Morning Ireland report today told us that the verification process used by the IDA to ascertain whether a connector would be due a payment until the scheme refused a significant number of connections yet, on a review, a third of these were overturned. This suggests a serious issue with the verification process used by the IDA.”

“The core issue here, Taoiseach, is that there’s potentially, there were potentially jobs lost to Ireland. And if this is the case the reasons for that must be made clear. An important element of this is the potential repetitional damage caused. Imagine from the point of view of someone who wanted to invest, when there’s two State agencies essentially almost in dispute with each other. And look at the confusion that would create. The issue is time sensitive in that the contract expires this coming Sunday. And, clearly, these issues must be satisfactorily addressed not just behind closed doors, before any new contract is entered into or, indeed, this one is cancelled.”

“So my questions are: why is there such a fundamental difference between the IDA and Connect Ireland regarding the jobs numbers? Who is nearer to the truth here? And, if it transpires that Connect Ireland are the ones telling the truth, how much will the IDA, using in public money, have to fork out in compensation?

Is that figure likely to be in the many millions? As has been reported in the many media – with figures of around €14million circulating. And will it be the IDA or the Department that would be the ones called to pay out the compensation if that was the case and has any amount been factored into either of their budgets? for this

Enda Kenny: “Well, I think the first thing I should say is that I’m quite sure that you welcome the improvement in the numbers of people working in the country. Unemployment has called from 15.2 to 6.6 with over two million-plus people now working in Ireland, spread throughout the region where every sector is growing.”

“In fact, I was accused in Cork recently of being responsible for clogging up the roads with people going to work which I suppose is a challenge, a challenge of success. I might say, I was interested in this initially, Deputy Murphy, because this was born out of an initiative that came from the 2011 Global Irish Economic Forum with the aim of involving global diaspora in job creation here when things were very, very bad…”

Later

“There are three issues here. One is the legal issue, which I can’t comment on, and that’s in respect of the financial situation. The second is: what were the number of jobs and what are the number of jobs that were created by the ambassadors and by the connectors of Connect Ireland and thirdly, what is the position now? Well. This was a four-year scheme, it was extended after contact was made with Government for a further 12 months and that runs out on Monday…”

Later

“Jobs are jobs and when we had none, we were very lucky to get any kind of jobs in here… I can’t comment on the court case but I will look forward to seeing Minister O’Connor’s review of this and that’s difficult given that there is a litigation at the moment…”

Murphy: “First of all Taoiseach, can I just say that your reply was a disgrace. It’s very disingenuous to question whether or I or others support jobs: of course we support investment in jobs in this country. I know what the Succeed in Ireland programme is about and I think most people in this house know what the Succeed in Ireland programme is about. I asked you very specific questions and I believe I’m entitled to a response to those.

More to follow.

Related: Connect Ireland’s plea to save its scheme (Businesspost.ie)

IDA Ireland accused of blocking potential job creators (RTE)

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For maximum feels, go full screen with headphones.

You may also care to get naked.

Niall Curran tweetz:

This video may be of interest to readers who need to feel appreciated today…

Written, directed, and animated by Kirsten Lepore (she of the excellent stop-motion episode of Adventure Time, ‘Bad Jubies‘). Voiced by Garrett Davis.