Wednesday, June 22, 2011

'Irascible' transport head steps off treadmill

Sitting down, somewhat reluctantly, for his final interview as head of CIE, John Lynch is trying to get the balance right.

When I suggest final interviews allow subjects to fully unburden themselves, Lynch shoots back, "I still want to be able to walk around this town''.

Having worked with 14 ministers across a number of state agencies and companies, Lynch, whose style is best described as irascible, has enemies and friends in equal measure.

But while his direct style is not to everyone's taste, it is impossible to deny his ability to survive at the top in the notoriously shark-infested waters of Irish semi-states, where politics and business don't always mingle easily.

CIE has a huge amount of critics and the economist Colm McCarthy reached the embarassnig conclusion last year that the company had no actual financial value, despite all the generous subsidies it got in recent years.

He argued that the amount of investment the company has receieved should mean it needs less in annual grants, but Lynch responds by saying all public transport companies need to keep their assets maintained, particularly railways and that is expensive.

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