AGM shows major support for dissident director

DISSIDENT EBS director Ethna Tinney may have had the overwhelming support of the 1,000 or so members who turned up to the society’s fractious annual general meeting yesterday but the board was not without its backers in the audience.

As member after member lined up to cheer on Ms Tinney, a lady down the back of the Burlington Hotel’s huge ballroom decided she was not impressed with her cause or those supporting her, especially the independent senator and journalist Shane Ross (who had earlier lashed into the board accusing them of “shafting” Ms Tinney for daring to speak out).

One of them, Mary Caffrey, patiently waited her turn before a microphone was passed to her. Mr Ross, she declared, was a “self-serving publicist seeking publicity”. She accused him of being a “fantasist” and having an agenda of trying to force members of the EBS to demutualise.

She received plenty of applause from the audience and a few curious glances from the other directors of the EBS. What she failed to tell the majority of those around her was that she also happened to be the wife of Ted McGovern, the chief executive of the EBS.

Ms McGovern’s voice was one of the few heard in support of the board at yesterday’s four-hour long AGM. Though Ms Tinney’s bid to remain as a director ultimately failed, her defiance in the face of the board won many admirers.

Ruth Stenson, a long-time customer of the EBS, threatened to close here account if Ms Tinney lost.

The members of the EBS may have lost Ethna as a director but her supporters found another to champion for election next year. Linda O’Shea Farrell, a barrister and financial expert, spoke up in favour of Ms Tinney so eloquently that dozens of those in the audience called for her to be made a director immediately.

Unfortunately, given the crowded room very few could see her, or even heard her name, so simply asked for the lady in the red dress to replace Ethna.

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