Friday, December 22, 2006

Probitys Wake

How the modern Joycean industry works in Ireland, via Friday's Irish Times (subs. req'd) --

1. Consultant with handsome 6 figure income from Department of Arts buys Joycean manuscript (partial Finnegans Wake) for 400,000 euro in 2004

2. Consultant sells said manuscript to Allied Irish Banks -- banker to Charlie Haughey, inter alia -- for 1.17 million euros in 2005

3. AIB out of the goodness of its heart transfers said manuscript to public museum under the jurisdiction of the Department of Arts, and receives a tax credit for the entire 1.17 million

4. In other words, the government purchased the manuscript out of general revenue, with a 717,000 euro capital gain accruing to the consultant. And AIB got a free public relations coup, while any other use of the 1.17 million would have counted at most as a cost deductible against taxable income, but not a credit against taxes.

Truly a trebles all round moment. The sequence has only come to light because the consultant in question directly contacted an opposition TD who had submitted a written parliamentary question about the deal -- the unusual contact outside the Dail perhaps being a ruse to trick the TD into making a "defamatory" statement without parliamentary privilege.

UPDATE 16 JANUARY: The story has apparently blown up again, but cease-and-desist letters are inhibiting how much of it can show up on the web. One additional detail: the consultant in question shuffles surnames like a deck of cards.

No comments: