Arrival of gardai shatters serenity of seaside village
Published 19/03/2010 | 05:00
The beautiful home of the former chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank is located in an area of Greystones called the Old Burnaby, and is set among 100 stunning Edwardian residences.
In an interview with this newspaper in 2003, he said he had six years left to pay off on his mortgage.
The homes were once popular with retired high-ranking officers of the British Army, and the Whitshed Road winds along before ending at the gates of Greystones Golf Club.
Mr FitzPatrick is a prominent member of the local club, and has also been spotted at the nearby Druid's Glen course in recent months.
There was no chance of getting in an early morning round yesterday, however, when the tranquillity on the tree-lined road was broken by the arrival of gardai on his doorstep at 6.30am.
More than a year after gardai had launched a probe into Anglo, the first arrest was being made.
None of Mr FitzPatrick's neighbours wished to comment on the early morning events, with many declining through their intercom systems.
It is understood, however, that members of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation were granted a search warrant earlier this week and had searched Mr FitzPatrick's home on Tuesday.
They were back yesterday in force. Mr FitzPatrick was arrested and brought from the two-storey home to an interrogation room in Bray garda station.
By the time media crews had arrived in the Old Bunbury at 9am, at least six officers from the fraud squad had been seen entering the house. By this time, the blinds on the side of the house facing the road had also all been lowered.
Mr Fitzpatrick (61) lives with his wife, Triona, in the house, although it is not known how many, if any, of the couple's three grown-up children still live there.
'Seanie' is a well-known figure in the seaside village in Wicklow. "He has no shortage of confidence or charisma, that's for sure," said one local who didn't wish to be named. "Even with all the problems with Anglo, he never lost that confidence. He's certainly not keeping a low profile."
The fraud investigators were doing a better job of that yesterday. Plain-clothed, and having arrived in unmarked cars, they finally left the house at 1.10pm. Some were carrying cardboard boxes, another had a shoulder bag, while a third detective carried a bulging black hold-all with a garda insignia. They loaded the gear into two cars, and drove off quickly.
At this stage, Mr FitzPatrick's period of detention had just been extended by six hours.
A separate media scrum had formed outside the garda station, but it would prove to be a long wait.