Eoghan O’Mara Walsh is chief executive, Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) and also sits on the board of directors of Dublinia/the Medieval Trust and Saint Patrick’s Festival. ITIC is the representative body of the Irish tourist industry. itic.ie
Are you a saver or a spender?
For good or bad I’ve always been a spender rather than a saver, although I am getting better over time.
Do you shop around for better value?
Unfortunately not. I’m not sure if I am lazy, passive or naive but I tend to kid myself that the price I am being quoted is the best there is without checking it out.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
A house. How much? I’m not telling.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I recently bought a bike, which I’m loving. It has changed my short commute to work and gives me a great outlet at the weekends. I bought it through the bike-to-work scheme, so definitely a good value-for-money purchase.
How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
Local. I’m allergic to online shopping – before, during and since the pandemic.
Do you haggle over prices?
I am a terrible haggler. A few years ago at a Turkish market, I dramatically walked away from a vendor with whom I was trying to negotiate a price for a plate, only to sheepishly return 20 minutes later and pay full whack.
How did the Covid-19 crisis change your spending habits?
I realised that I frittered money away so I have become a bit more conscious of discretionary spend.
Do you invest in shares?
I bought a few bank shares during the financial crash when they had collapsed by 80 per cent in value. Their value continued to collapse. They are finally inching up in value, though, so one day I’ll be proven very astute!
Cash or card?
Card. I very rarely carry cash now. I know I need to move on to the likes of Revolut, but I am still a bit of a dinosaur at heart.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
A Frozen balloon from a dodgy stall for my daughter at the weekend – it didn’t survive the short walk home, so not great value at all.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Not really. I’ve been lucky enough to get loans for any big purchases.
Have you ever lost money?
I bought a house at the height of the Celtic Tiger. Enough said.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
On his deathbed on the morning of the Grand National, my grandfather’s final words, allegedly, were, “put a bet on for me”. In his memory I bet once a year, but so far no winners!
Is money important to you?
Yes, in so far as it allows you to enjoy more experiences with family and friends. In the larger sense, though, money isn’t important at all.
How much money do you have on you now?
Zip. Nada. Zilch.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea