Inside the world of business
Finance puts its own man in IBRC to lead run-down
THE INSTALLATION of banker turned mandarin Neil Ryan at Irish Bank Resolution Corporation raises a number questions, the most pertinent being: why?
Ryan, who is being seconded from his key assistant secretary role at the Department of Finance, will take responsibility for market solutions at the bank. Its primary function is to “facilitate the deleveraging of the bank’s loan portfolio in the most efficient time frame”.
It is a key part of the plan to close the book on Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide; the decision by the Department of Finance to install its own man in the post is hardly a ringing endorsement of progress to date.
Presumably it reflects tensions between the Department and the bank management over the speed at which things are being run down.
IBRC management, led by Mike Aynsley, are advocates of the “slowly, slowly, catchy monkey” school, arguing that they will get more money back in the long run by continuing to bank and stay close to former Anglo Irish clients.
However, the bank’s ongoing relationship with some clients has proven controversial.
Aynsley’s endorsement of Paddy McKillen’s unsuccessful attempts to overturn the National Asset Management Agency sale of debts on his London Hotels to the Barclay brothers did not play well. His text messages to McKillen – revealed in court – were particularly embarrassing.
IBRC’s enthusiasm for maintaining its banking relationship with Denis O’Brien – once its biggest debtor – also does not fit with the notion that the bank is being run down. The bank has been accused of giving favourable treatment to O’Brien, leaving management open to the accusation that they harbour ambitions for the bank other than the quickest possible run-down.
As a member of the bank’s group executive committee, Ryan will be in a position to judge all this for himself.
Department seeks to lift the 'Fog' surrounding end of analogue TV
What’s so significant about October 25th? It is the day after the switch-off of analogue television signals in Ireland and across Europe. The play, which will be performed in a number of community centres in Mayo and beyond, concentrates on that moment “when the husband realises to his dismay that he has no picture on his beloved TV”.
The idea of The Fog, and the Department of Communications’ digital switchover campaign in general, is for some 250,000 homes in Ireland in the core target group – those relying on an analogue signal – to take steps to upgrade now, rather than later.
This is a completely separate endeavour from RTÉ’s Saorview campaign, which aims to sign people up to the free-to-air digital terrestrial television service of the same name.
The department’s campaign, on the other hand, is strictly platform-neutral – there is no mention of Saorview in its announcement of the highlights of next week’s National Digital Switchover Week. It’s just one of the options.