How Sweet of Tom Parlon to Fret over the Fate of Frail Women Driven out of [Euro]10m Homes by That Nasty Nama
Byline: Brenda Power
WERE you to pick a single figure to exemplify what was venal and self-serving about the relationship between politicians and developers in the boom times, you'd have a hard job to do better than Tom Parlon.
And if you were looking for proof that the bubble of deluded entitlement, in which this relationship flourished, has yet to burst; Parlon is your only man.
A former farmers' leader, Parlon was a big catch for the PDs in 2002 and, on his first day in the Dail, was parachuted straight into the Department of Finance. He remained there as a Junior Minister right up to 2007 or, in other words, throughout the period when that department, and indeed that entire Government, were run to serve the best interests of the voracious construction industry.
He threw huge money at his re-election campaign but, when he was dumped by the voters, far-sighted Tom had a reserve parachute to hand.
He was promptly rescued from the ignominy of a mere Seanad seat by the Construction Industry Federation, of all people, and installed as its director general on a salary of [euro]250,000. And his contacts in Finance, where he played second fiddle to Brian Cowen as they laid the groundwork for the near-bankruptcy of the public purse, was hardly a hindrance to his elevation.
It is, of course, his well-paid job to lobby on behalf of the construction industry and to steamroll their priorities to the top of the political agenda.
But even so, Tom's latest pitch for his paymasters is so brazen and utterly disconnected from reality as to make Ivor Callely's defence of his expense claims look perfectly reasonable. Tom, you see, has just discovered a passionate concern for the lot of the stay-at-home mammy.
SPECIFICAlly, he's worried sick about the stay-at-home mammy who may be in danger of losing the roof over her head. Sadly, though, Tom's heart seemingly bleeds only for the stay-at-home mammy whose said home is valued at [euro]10million or more, and only where she happens to be married to one of his big property developer buddies.
Ordinary riff-raff, the sort of losers whose homes are at risk because they bought them at inflated prices from Tom's wealthy pals, don't appear to concern him in the least.
He is horrified at the idea that his mates and their WAGS might face eviction from their lavish homes. That's homes, plural. Imagine, just because these heroes owe hundreds of millions to Nama, the hideous prospect of the taxpayers getting their grubby paws on their Marbella villas and Vermont ski lodges and Manhattan townhouses, much less their Ballsbridge mansions with swimming pools, home cinemas and rooftop Jacuzzis.
Imagine the shame for all those trophy wives if they've got to pack their louis Vuitton trunks, wave goodbye to the wine-cellar and the spa and the helipad, and haul ass to some cramped six-bedroom red-brick in Ranelagh, just like famine-era cottagers except with American fridge-freezers and Aga ranges.
No wonder Tom is lying awake at night. And no wonder that, in some of those sleepless small hours, he found himself turning to the Constitution for solace. …