Foot­notes

The Irish Times - Business - - CAVEAT -

The news that the We­ston fam­ily-owned Sel­fridge’s is mak­ing €11 mil­lion avail­able for fur­ther re­fur­bish­ment of Arnotts is wel­come news for the distin­guished Dublin city cen­tre re­tail­ing in­sti­tu­tion. Its fu­ture looks se­cure.

But what does the fu­ture hold for its erst­while north city cen­tre ri­val, Clerys? The on­go­ing ru­mour about town is that the con­sor­tium led by Dublin de­vel­oper Deirdre Fo­ley is un­likely to be the group that brings the project to fruition.

Prop­erty in­dus­try sources think it might be bet­ter if Clerys is sold on to an­other de­vel­op­ment group with less rep­u­ta­tional bag­gage con­nected with the project. Fo­ley’s con­sor­tium sparked pub­lic fury in 2015 when the store’s em­ploy­ees were quite lit­er­ally put out on the street when the store was shut in breath­tak­ingly cyn­i­cal fash­ion.

Clerys is a prime re­de­vel­op­ment play. A lot of peo­ple will make a lot of money from its re­de­vel­op­ment. Even if they don’t re­de­velop it and choose to sell it on, Fo­ley’s con­sor­tium will be mem­bers of that co­terie.

Face­book chief ex­ec­u­tive, Mark Zucker­berg’s, ap­pear­ance this week be­fore US par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to an­swer ques­tions about its sketchy man­age­ment of users’s pri­vate data was es­sen­tial view­ing. The level of his per­sonal dis­com­fort at fac­ing such un­com­pro­mis­ing pub­lic scru­tiny, as he supped water and wore a shell-shocked fa­cial ex­pres­sion, was al­most enough to make you feel sorry for him. Al­most. Zucker­berg has so far re­buffed sim­i­lar re­quests to ap­pear be­fore UK par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to an­swer ques­tions on data. So it is prob­a­bly too much to hope that, one day, he might ap­pear be­fore an Oireach­tas com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­mit­tee to an­swer ques­tions fielded on be­half of the ci­ti­zens of the State that is home to Face­book’s in­ter­na­tional head­quar­ters, and where it has made much of its money. But, oh, wouldn’t it be box of­fice to watch Zucker­berg’s puz­zled ex­pres­sion as he faced off against the likes of Michael Lowry, Timmy Doo­ley, Bríd Smith and their com­mit­tee col­leagues.

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