Sunday 24 September 2017

McNamara only guilty of over optimism

Irish entrepreneurs are falling like skittles, but our gloating shouldn't blind us to the value of risk-taking, writes Brendan O'Connor

It is tempting to take pleasure in the downfall of Bernard McNamara. Blame is important to us right now. We find it a great comfort. And there is a great sense of justice in seeing the mighty tumble, to see a man who was worth hundreds of millions just a few years ago now accept that he will possibly lose his house; his house with its swimming pool. Now that we're all screwed, we want to see that the people who flew high in the boom are screwed even worse.

The fact that McNamara is a Fianna Failer, and was once a Fianna Fail councillor and general election candidate, helps too. Fianna Fail is a byword for all kinds of arrogance and crookedness these days. Of course, there is no suggestion that Bernard McNamara is crooked, but take a developer and add Fianna Fail sympathies and that tells people all they need to know. Serves him right. It was him and his cronies (never friends, never business associates, always 'cronies') who got us into the mess we're in today. Greed, arrogance and gambling, and now we'll pay for it all while McNamara gets away scot-free.

Certainly Bernard McNamara doesn't expect anyone's sympathy. He has said as much. He is taking his medicine. He is accepting that his career is ending at 60, as he had planned it would, but not in the way he had planned it would. He accepts that it is ending in failure. He seems to have lost everything. He certainly seems to think so himself. Most of us doubt that he will end up living on the campsite he mentioned, but there seems to be a fair chance he will lose his house, swimming pool and all.

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