Former Bord na Mona boss-turned-green evangelist O'Connor made €48m when selling renewable energy firm Airtricity for €1.2bn in 2007. He ploughed most of it into setting up Mainstream Renewable. Power valuations got pretty toppy, with the group thought to be worth close to €800m at one stage. But investors have gone very cold on the sector. Japanese trading house Marubeni spent €100m for a 25pc stake three years ago, valuing the business at €400m.
Roscommon-born O'Connor (68) has a 35pc stake but is likely to be diluted further as he seeks to raise another €75m in funding. He took a 7.1 pc share in a consortium that unsuccessfully tried to rescue Plymouth football club. "It wasn't the worst investment I ever made, but I lost it all. It was €100,000 or something like that. It's all gone now. I would never invest in a sporting venture again," he told the Sunday Independent last year. "Of course I regret losing €100,000 - but do I lose any sleep over it? Not a minute."