On his declaration of interests to the House of the Oireachtas Frank Fahey states he holds shares in Ryanair, Irish Life and Permanent, Aviva and Eircom. I see no way he could possibly hold shares in Eircom.
To my knowledge it’s not possible for him to hold Eircom shares since the Valentia takeover in 2001. Eircom shareholders at that time would have had to cash-out or take Vodafone shares.
Strangely, Deputy Fahey declared shares in Vodafone in 2005 and 2006, then Eircom shares in 2007 and every year since. Therefore, if I am correct, and I’ve asked around to try to find someone who could tell me I’m not (anyone?), Deputy Fahey has made an incorrect declaration for the last three years.
I asked his assistant how I could put some questions to the deputy and was told to send an email to the office address. I sent the following email on April 1, eight days ago;
Thanks for taking my phone call earlier.
Could you ask Deputy Fahey the follow questions about his declaration of interests, published in recent weeks, and return to me his response via email at this address.
In the declaration Deputy Fahey claims to have shares in Eircom. What does he mean by this?
To my knowledge it is not possible to hold shares in Eircom since the Valentia takeover several years ago. Deputy Fahey would have had to surrender the shares in order to obtain the takeover payment when the majority of shareholders voted in favour of the takeover. If he did not obtain the takeover payment it is still not, to my knowledge, possible to be an Eircom shareholder. What exactly does Deputy Fahey mean when he claims to hold shares in Eircom?
Also, could you ask Deputy Fahey; ‘how long did you spend writing your declaration of interests?’
Kind regards, hope to hear back by this time tomorrow.
I didn’t really expect to hear back the next day as it was Good Friday but I wanted to get across that I wanted a quick response.
I’d heard nothing back by the following Tuesday afternoon so I called the office again. Deputy Fahey’s assistant told me the email was brought to the TD’s attention on the previous Thursday. He said “I sent on your email and if Frank has a response to make he’ll get back to you”. “When?” I asked. “If he has a comment to make he’ll probably get back to you in the next day or so”.
So I’d no guarantee of response then, which I took to mean I’d probably get no response.
Nothing by Wednesday afternoon. Luckily I then managed to find Deputy Fahey’s personal mobile phone number on an old press release. I gave him a call…
MC Hi is this Frank?
FF Yes, who’s this?
MC Mark Coughlan, I’m a freelance journalist, I’m calling you to ask about your shares in Eircom. I sent you an email last week which your staff said you’d got.
FF What about my shares in Eircom?
MC Well to my knowledge it’s not possible for you to hold shares in Eircom since the takeover. You’d either have had to take the payout or take Vodafone shares when Valentia took over a few years ago…
FF Right… I’ll have to get that sorted so.
MC … Eh… This is the second such incident with your declaration of interest this year. You also failed to note your stake in Sage Construction but you corrected that with the clerk of the Dáil after the Mail contacted you. I mean, how long exactly did you spend compiling the declaration?
FF Listen… Who am I speaking with?
MC Mark Coughlan, I’m a freelance journalist.
FF Right. Who do you write for Mark?
MC I’m freelance.
FF Right. Listen can you put something in writing?
MC I’ve already done so and your staff said it was put to you. Which address should I send it to now?
FF My Oireachtas one.
MC Right so. Good luck.
After I completed my notes on the phone call I sent the same email as above to Deputy Fahey directly, again saying I wished to hear back from him the next day. That was the third time I’d put the same set of questions to the deputy.
It’s now 24 hours over deadline and I’ve yet to receive a reply. I’m guessing he is not going to get back to me. If he does, I’ll post it here.
Also worth noting; Deputy Fahey says he has no directorships, yet he is listed as a director of Time4Us by the Companies Registration Office. (However, this could be due to Time4Us being an non-profit social enterprise, I’m not sure).
We will now be making a complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission about the incorrect details on Deputy Fahey’s declaration. He also failed to declare his stake in Sage Construction for the last two years.
Hopefully SIPO can figure out the situation in relation to Deputy Fahey’s claim to hold Eircom shares. I can’t, and it seems he won’t answer my questions to explain.