■ The giant US institution, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), completed the formation of its new European headquarters in Dublin over the weekend, when it received regulatory approval to merge its London and Irish units. The Brexit-proofing move means 100 staff are switching to Dublin, bringing the total employed to 800.
BAML had another reason to celebrate this week, however. Bank of America has been operating in Ireland for 50 years.
The bank held a celebratory dinner earlier in the week at the National Gallery in Dublin, attended by, naturally, about 50 guests. These included local luminaries such as Martin Shanahan, the chief executive of IDA Ireland; Mark Redmond, chief executive of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland; Terence O’Rourke, chairman of Enterprise Ireland, former managing partner of KPMG, and a director of The Irish
Times; John Fitzpatrick, chief executive of Fitzpatrick hotel group and chairman of the Ireland Funds America; and Neil Murray, the Irish-sounding Welshman who runs the Abbey Theatre.
Meanwhile, prominent among those on the bank’s side at the dinner were some of its most senior officers, including Bruce Thompson, group vice-chairman and chief executive of the European HQ; and Anne Finucane, also group vice-chairman, and chairman of the European branch.
US-born Finucane, whose roots are also as Irish as they sound, had yet another reason to celebrate. Forbes this week named her in its top 10 of the most powerful women in global finance, crediting her with helping to turn the bank around after the financial crisis. She also made overall Forbes’s top 50 of the most powerful women on the planet.
■ Buried amongst the tax defaulters listed by Revenue this week was a Donegal company, which made a VAT and corporation tax settlement of €146,000. The Border counties, rightly or wrongly, are linked with a certain driving stereotype: boy racers. The Letterkenny tax defaulter was listed by Revenue as a “driving instructor”. The name of the driving instructor’s company, however, raised a few smiles in Dublin given the local stereotype: Shaun Gallagher Motorsport Limited.