The life and times of Regina Doherty

If you bought yesterday’s Sunday Business Post (I have my moments of weakness), you’ll probably have read their two-page spread devoted to Regina Doherty, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. In it she reminds people of her humble beginnings (a council house – eeek!) and a few other things as well.

Or maybe it was the SBP that reminded us. For example, the report notes that Ms Doherty and husband ran a computer hardware distribution company that was liquidated in 2013 with debts of €286,000. The Minister says it has been used since as a stick with which to beat her because it failed. “But for nine years it wasn’t a failure”. And apparently she found it an important source of learning. “I probably learned more from that short period than I ever learned from the nine years of success, or the previous 20 years that I had working very successfully for other people.”

As the report doesn’t elaborate or challenge these remarks, I’m left puzzling. What exactly did Ms Doherty learn from being in charge of a company that collapsed? What was she doing in those 20 years when she worked “very successfully for other people”? Surely she’s not saying running a computer hardware company was working for other people? And maybe most important of all, that £286,000. This debt remained after her company’s liquidation. Presumably the money was owing to somebody or some institution. Who was that somebody or what was that institution? And is that it – she owes the money and that’s the end of it? I hope I’ve got that wrong, because I’ve a feeling that if I took a quarter million pounds from somewhere and didn’t pay it back, I wouldn’t have been talking about learning stuff. I’d have been in prison.

But as I say, I know so little about high finance. I’ve probably misunderstood the whole thing.

The report also talks about the abuse Ms Doherty has suffered on social media. It also refers to “a post written by a blogger Catherine Kelly who subsequently was cautioned by gardai at Dublin airport.” Those of you with good memories will recall that Catherine Kelly posted that blog on this site. The report doesn’t have anything to say about the truth or otherwise of the blog, nor the legality of having the gardai caution someone for writing a blog. At the time, there was considerable protest that Ms Doherty had used gardai to put the frighteners on someone who had dared to write a piece that Ms Doherty didn’t like. None of this is raised in the SBP report.

I quite like the Sunday Business Post. But in this report, it shows an ability to glide past important questions that is a bit disturbing.

Still, I bet Regina was pleased with this piece of mainstream media reporting.

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