Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The new National Consumer Affairs Office

I caught the end of Prime Time last night: BSG is on the same time and frankly I need to the distraction - the final five who could they be?

Have to I was very, very disappointed by the self satisfied performance of Aine Fitzgerald the new head of the National Consumer Agency (NCA). She was asked several times by Miriam O'Callaghan why she thought she would be able to do something about rip offs and she claimed that having a budget of €15 million and powers of "research" would do the trick. Research eh! Didn't sound like she had any inclination of using powers that might any way inconvenience rip off merchants across the country.

I remember watching Carmel Foley who was at the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs the predecessor to the NCA tackling the insurance and legal sectors when she was tasked with finding a means to reduce the costs of car insurance in Ireland and I was really impressed by her. Here was someone who was tenacious and focused and had no time for waffling. It was her work and not the political waffle of McDowell that led to the creation of the establishment of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. Sadly she is since off to somewhere else in the state sector the Garda Ombudsman's office I think. Our gain from the perspective of a well run police force but our loss as consumers.

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