Sunday 25 September 2016

From dizzy heights to breakfast in a plastic bag

Anglo Three are embarking on prison sentences in a bleak and alien regime

Eamon Dillon and Maeve Sheehan

Published 02/08/2015 | 02:30

Bernard Daly (67)
NEW REALITY: Aoife Maguire (62)
Tiarnan O’Mahoney (56)

They are doing porridge but breakfast this Sunday morning for the Anglo Three will be dry cereal and bread in a plastic bag, a small carton of milk to douse it with and plastic cutlery.

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Tiarnan O'Mahoney (56), Bernard Daly (67) and Aoife Maguire (62), the first bankers to be jailed since the financial crisis, will wake up this morning in a bleak environment a world away from life at the once high-flying bank known for its sumptuous corporate entertainment.

The three were sentenced on Friday in a case that has had catastrophic consequences for all three. Bernard Daly and Tiarnan O'Mahoney could face the costs for their legal fees for the lengthy trial.

Unlike Aoife Maguire, who was on legal aid, the two men's fees were covered by directors' and officers' liability insurance which - depending on the policy - does not always pay out if directors are convicted of a criminal offence.

The three were found guilty on all charges against them at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of trying to hide accounts connected to the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean FitzPatrick, from the Revenue Commissioners.

After Friday's sentencing, the three prisoners were handcuffed and taken by prison transport to the Mountjoy Prison complex in Dublin's north inner city to be admitted officially into the system.

The new regime will contrast with their previous lives.

Mr O'Mahoney, a former chief operating officer at Anglo, left the bank with a €250,000 pension top up and a pay-off of €3.65m. Brian Cowen, the former Taoiseach, appointed him as chairman of the Irish Pensions Board, while just two years before his conviction, he joined a foreign exchange company.

Bernard Daly, a former civil servant, was Anglo's director of treasury and later company secretary. During his trial, he described himself as strait-laced and an outsider at the bank. He did parish work and volunteered with the St Vincent de Paul.

Both men were introduced to life in Mountjoy on Friday in a prefab-cabin close to the reception entrance where an officer filled out a form with their details including a physical description and any medical issues. Prison officers would have asked whether they wanted to be put on special protection, a standard question for inmates who may have enemies behind bars.

Then they were taken to the reception centre deep in the belly of the prison to a strip-lit room without any natural light. O'Mahoney and Daly would have had to change into prison clothes, like any other prisoner, and they would also have been offered the opportunity to take a shower. At this stage they were photographed and assigned a prison number which will follow them through the system

Their first nights in custody were spent on the committal wing, where inmates are assessed by nursing staff. All new inmates are kept under close watch - the so-called 'suicide watch' - for their first 24 hours behind bars.

As a female prisoner, Aoife Maguire was spared certain indignities. She was the most junior of those convicted. She started out at Anglo as a dictaphone typist who worked her way up to assistant manager.

The sentencing hearing on Friday heard that she raised her daughter on her own and was a leading and respected figure in her camogie club, the Good Counsel, in Drimnagh. Just over a year ago, she was voted Dublin camogie 'Volunteer of the Year'.

On her arrival at the Dochas Centre, the women's section of the Mountjoy complex, she was not required to wear prison-issue clothes but could hold on to her own. The accommodation is different as well, with most prisoners sharing chalets as opposed to cells within the jail.

But because the prison is full to capacity, there is nowhere to segregate prisoners, which means the assistant bank manager will have to mix with some notorious fellow inmates such as Catherine Nevin and the Scissor Sisters, Charlotte and Linda Mulhall.

Sunday Independent

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