3 Jul 2008

Before I forget, does anyone know what building Bertie’s new offices (for which more than €220,000 (cost of building a standard house) has been spent on renovating) are located in? By any chance are we talking ‘Protected Structure’? If so, did anyone lodge a planning application for approval? I'm not being rhetorical, I'd genuinely like to know.

Anyway, when I was passed on the link to Bertie’s new self promoting website http://bertieahernoffice.org/video.php , I, like everybody else I’m sure, thought to myself: ‘has that nice spoofy-comedic set up, but I’m seeing any punchline?’ (unlike the excellent ‘Cowen’s Downfall’ which has been doing the rounds on YouTube this week: sorry - too many rude words in it for me to post on this site, but if that kind of thing doesn’t offend you, it’s really worth Googling). Turns out it’s not an intended joke after all but, rather, the start of Bertie’s campaign to become our next president! Apparently he feels comfortable about doing this because of something to do with the peace process…

Anyway, Bertie was forever justifying personal pay increases, perks and the like on the basis that, were he working in the private sector, he’d be earning so much more money than he was as Taoiseach.

But doing what, I’ve often wondered? Even if it were possible to make the kind of money he was talking about in his old job totting up figures in some back office at the HSE, on the strength of his evidence to the Mahon Tribunal, during which he showed no aptitude to handle any kind of account whatsoever, I couldn’t imagine him rising to the top of that particular career ladder.

So what, exactly, would Bertie do in private life to make the kind of money he thinks he’s worth…

How about this: does anyone agree that he’d make a great (with the utmost respect to all you Quantity Surveyors whom I consider to be amongst my closest friends and who these days are more Project Delivery Strategists than the old fashioned Quantity Surveyors of yore, so please don’t be offended) Quantity Surveyor? What do you think?

Can’t you imagine him – the guy at the Design Team meetings, forever destined to almost fall asleep when the architect and services engineer get to the part about ‘embodied energy’? Occasionally interjecting ‘we might just want to explore the capital cost consequences (of, say, having each individual piece of glass hand made in Murano) before confirming that order’ (as nobody else pays the slightest bit of attention)? Overcompensating for the fact that doesn’t do black cashmere polo-necks by sporting a made to measure Louis Copeland with Peter Sutherland cufflinks and an oversparkly tie? Arriving at site meetings in the car with the best resale value?  Politely showing up at team-bonding Bloomsday picnics wondering why on earth the bird on the stage keeps shouting ‘yes!’ over and over again.

Friday, July 04, 2008 1:44:34 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Well Garry, Great blog - I visit almost weekly (being from Clare it gives me a certain masochistic thrill!)

I read, about a month ago, that Ahern's new offices would be in the Setanta Centre in Nassau Street in an ofice formerly occupied by John Bruton.

I notice that since then the location of his office has not been mentioned further in any newspaper Articles - no doubt security concerns or fears that hoards of favour seeking Dublin Central-ers would decend meant they didn't repeat it.

Incidentally, doing a quick google - the Setanta centre is leased by the OPW from Larry Goodman who gets €12.5 mill. yearly for this and a number of other Dublin properties (http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2006/02/19/story11906.asp).

I can't answer your question as to whether it's a protected structure, but I doubt it - it's as ugly as sin!

All the best...

David G.

Friday, July 04, 2008 2:09:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
David, I hadn't heard it was in the Setanta Centre - in which case, no sweat.

Very interesting little factoid on Larry Goodman. I did not know that.
Monday, July 07, 2008 10:43:57 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Garry / David,

An interesting post here on the setanta centre:


Monday, July 07, 2008 1:56:19 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Andrew, that's a very interesting piece you've referred us to.

It's funny, I've often thought that Leinster House feels very 'isolated' from the rest of the city. If you compare it to, say, the Marie in Paris or Capitol Hill in Washington which give out a real sense of civic importance, Leinster House almost seems to be in hiding.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008 10:07:48 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

I really do agree with you, and it's such a shame that the seat of Irish democracy, the place where we are supposedly represented is stuck behind (what seems to the general public, in any case) an impenetrable wall of security/formalities.

Int he last 2/3 years I've seen two plans in the media (though I have really searched thoroughly on the internet and cannot find them) that proposed how this area could be opened up:

1. Take away the gates and create a kind of Government Quarter in this area with Leinster House and Leinster Lawn as the centrepiece, with laneways/roads in between the various Government Departments/TD's offices. Like you said Garry, the Capitol in Washington DC is a good example - there citizens use the area as a recreation space as well as a working space.

Demolishing the Setanta Centre (thanks for the picture Andrew I never knew it was such a monster) would be a great start to this – all the space gained could be utilised as a meeting space/public debate area (on the idea of a Roman Forum). It would be a much more pleasant place for citizens to interact with their politicians.

2. The second plan I read about, was to move the Oireachtas (minus the President obviously) to another part of the city and create a Cultural Quarter, bringing together the two National museums and the National Gallery and Library. This also has advantages, as the Oireachtas is kind of an anomaly there in the middle of all this wonderful cultural space. Given the nature of government, it's also likely that it will continue to expand (witness the recent proposal to move the Seanad temporarily to the Natural History museum) and it will start casting a greedy eye on the adjacent buildings...maybe moving it now could save expense in the long term?

Thanks again for the picture Andrew, really enlightening…
Wednesday, July 09, 2008 4:26:08 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Very interesting information - if we couldn't have option two (which is very tempting) I'd certainly vote for option one.

If they could just move all the cars from the Kildare Street Entrance and open up that courtyard, it would be a serious improvement.
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