TAOISEACH Enda Kenny will lobby the next president of the
European Commission in order to get a top-job commissionership for Ireland.
EU leaders gathered last night, Mr Kenny refused to say who he was lining up to
send to Europe – but he admitted to discussing available positions with
presidency favourite Jean- Claude Juncker.
"I had a discussion with Jean- Claude Juncker last Saturday and assured him of
my support following the very clear election process we had in Dublin.
"I said that on his election as president then we would be talking about
"There are a number of commissionerships that would be of interest to Ireland
and I will speak to the president when he is elected,"
Once upon a time, quite a number of people thought Ireland was
the best country in the world. If any of them still exist, they will doubtless
have enjoyed reading the reports about the findings of the Good Country Index.
That organisation – previously unknown to me, I must confess – has named us the
best, or to use its own quaint term, the goodest country out of 125. But it
cannot have expected the real-world Irish reaction. It has been overwhelmed with
emails of angry protest.
Evidently the authors of these messages have in mind such everyday Irish
experiences as broken banks, unemployment, emigration, negative equity, mortgage
arrears . . . the list could go on and on.
You have to wonder what research the Good Country Index people conducted – and
when. You also have to wonder what criteria they relied on.
To do them justice, their report does contain the odd flash of enlightenment.
For example, we come 45th in the category of "climate and planet".
Considering that in the matter of combating climate change our contribution has
been close to zero, you could call that a bit generous.
But their glimpses of reality are rare. For the most part, they describe a
country none of us ever knew even in the best of times.
The characterisation of disgruntled litigants as
"bedecked in a sandwich board declaiming various grievances . . . invariably
adorned with excessive punctuation, block capitals and dubious spelling" by
senior counsel Remy Farrell (June 23) smacks of condescension.
There are many within and without the State who are unhappy with
the litigation process in Ireland, and in particular that it is far too
Among the many reforms agreed by this State with the troika in 2011, was that
the "government will remove restrictions to trade and competition in sheltered
sectors including: the legal profession, establishing an independent regulator
for the profession and implementing the recommendations of the Legal Working
Group and outstanding Competition Authority recommendations to reduce legal
Many lawyers in the sheltered professions assumed that these reforms would not
be enacted; that painful reforms would be borne by the plebeians only, and not
impact in any meaningful way on the patricians of our society. To date, they
have been proven correct.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has asked Government departments to draw up
policies and plans that can be implemented in the last 18 months of the
As part of the so-called reset process following the local and European election
drubbing for Fine Gael and Labour, achievable goals are being considered across
Government to bring focus to the remainder of the lifetime of the Coalition.
With a reshuffle due after the Labour Party elects a new leader on July 4th,
senior Government sources said the ideas under consideration would outlast any
change in personnel around the Cabinet table.
Chris Johns: Fans of capitalism are a vanishing breed. In the
wake of the great financial crisis, few people are willing to put their heads
above the parapet to defend a system that has generated so much misery. Indeed,
critics are in the ascendant.
The new darling of the left, Thomas Piketty, says he does not want to abolish
capitalism but his policy suggestions could result in precisely that outcome. In
what looks like a Piketty-inspired policy proposal, the left wing think tank,
the Nevin Economic Research Institute, in its pre-budget submission this week
called for “redistribution of excess returns to capital”. Nobody, it seems,
All very understandable: our flirtation with a second Great Depression has laid
bare many of capitalism’s weaknesses. Reform is necessary but there is little
agreement on the what that means. For some, it is a matter of small tweaks;
others see a chance for the resurrection of hard left policies, long thought
buried under the rubble of the Berlin Wall.
It was British politician Enoch Powell who said that “all
political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end
in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs”.
It’s a quote that could be applied to the business career of Sir Anthony
O’Reilly, who today faces a key High Court judgment relating to his €195 million
O’Reilly was born in Dublin in May 1936 to Jack O’Reilly, a civil servant, and
Aileen O’Connor. The couple pretended to the outside world to be married, but
Jack had been married before, with children. Tony wouldn’t learn of this for
The French economy came to a standstill in the first quarter,
official estimates showed on Friday, and economists said the outlook for the
rest of the year was not encouraging, despite some gains in consumer spending in
The report that the economy grew not at all in the first three months of the
year came a day after data showed the number of jobless rose to a record high in
May, casting fresh doubt on government projections of 1 per cent growth this
The 1 per cent jump in consumer spending in May beat the consensus forecast of a
0.4 per cent gain. It was the highest reading since November of last year.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed that there will be
no cross-subsidisation between an independent Shannon Airport and the rent roll
from Shannon Development’s extensive land bank.
In the latest figures available, the Shannon Development land-bank provides €11m
in annual gross rent receipts.
However, addressing the Dáil on the State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014, Mr
Varadkar indicated that the airport will not have access to the Shannon
Development rental revenues in the merged Shannon Group.
“The success of the Shannon Group will be enhanced by ensuring that its two main
subsidiaries are each commercially successful in their own right and do not
cross-subsidise each other.
“This structure will also facilitate greater transparency in the application of
State aid rules by Shannon Group and its subsidiaries. Any business arrangements
between them will be on a commercial basis and will involve no cross-subsidisation
of operations at the airport.
Euro Topics: Time for a shift to the left:
Europe's leftist heads of state and government should hold firm on their terms
for Juncker's nomination and then jointly develop a programme for Europe's
future, the left-liberal daily Libération believes: "Much rides on the
discussions now getting under way. The social democratic left has established a
new balance of power and is making Jean-Claude Juncker's mandate as Commission
president contingent on a decisive change of direction in European economic
policy. It will focus more on growth, targeted industrial policies and an
extensive investment plan. This shift to the left is the correct move, but above
all it must not degenerate into a power struggle between Europe's social
democrats. On the contrary, François Hollande and Matteo Renzi must redefine
European policy together."
Association must mean protection from Russia: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine
will sign association agreements with the EU today. That also puts the onus
on the EU to stand up more firmly to Russia, the German conservative daily Die
Welt stresses: "Russia has already cut sections away from all three states,
without the West doing anything to seriously question the resulting situation on
the ground. ... We are still governed by the philosophy that Moscow should not
be 'provoked' into committing even more aggressive acts. But let's not fool
ourselves: Putin can't be dissuaded from his logic of expansion if the West
hesitates and avoids making him feel the consequences. ... And Ukraine and the
other new partner countries won't be able to take advantage of even the most
promising association perspectives if the West proves incapable of preventing
autocratic Russia from pursuing its policy of destabilisation."
Berlin becomes bungling capital: Reports on fresh problems and delays in
the construction of Berlin's new airport are a regular feature in German media.
On Thursday the CEO of the state-owned company that will operate
Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER), Hartmut Mehdorn, asked for an additional 1.1
billion euros from the state for its completion. Even fans of Berlin have had
enough of the whole thing, the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger comments irritably:
"Although at first people thought the airport debacle was funny, now it's become
annoying to always have to land at antiquated Tegel Airport. So Berlin's image
has gone from that of a cool metropolis to that of a bungling capital. ... 'Poor
but sexy' was how Berlin's long-standing Mayor Klaus Wowereit described his
city. The message was that creativity and a laissez-faire attitude are more
important than traditional German virtues like diligence and meticulousness. ...
German President Christian Wulff was forced to step down for accepting an
invitation to stay in a hotel worth a few hundred euros. Wowereit is partly
responsible for this fiasco that is costing billions - he has been the chairman
of the airport's supervisory board for years. But will he assume political
responsibility? No way! We are in Berlin after all."
Suárez must go on bite detox: Uruguay's national player Luis Suárez was
suspended for nine matches and banned for four months from any football activity
for his biting attack against the Italian Giorgio Chiellini during the Fifa
World Cup. What the notorious biter really needs is therapy, the left-liberal
Spanish daily El País recommends: "Quips like 'Suárez Lecter', 'Luis the
Cannibal' or 'Goal at first bite' aside, the decisive question in Suárez's case
is why psychologically conspicuous behaviour has been allowed to be repeated
without being treated, and this in a highly professional sport. ... Neither the
Uruguayan Football Association nor FC Liverpool can deny that the player suffers
from an uncontrollable desire to bite. So it's striking that until now they
haven't been able to diagnose it and put him in therapy. ... Instead of a simple
punishment, Suárez should only be allowed onto a football pitch once he's
undergone therapy and can prove he's been cured of his compulsion to bite."