Friday 20 January 2017

We shared their dreams, now we share their nightmares

Except the dreams of the rich still seem to be sweet as they jet off on holiday to get over their losses, writes Brendan O'Connor

Published 07/03/2010 | 05:00

There was a time when we could afford rich people. There was a time too when any of us thought that maybe it could be us, that if we only had the staggering self-confidence and slight madness of these people, that we too could live the Irish dream. When we saw them paying far too much for bits of waste land and derelict buildings, our rational brain told us that this was mad, but we kind of thought, on another level, that they must have known what they were doing. And we kind of thought, "Why didn't I think of that?"

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The rich in Ireland didn't seem that much brighter than the rest of us. Neither did most of them seem to have come from that different a background to the rest of us. Sean Dunne grew up without proper sanitary facilities in his house. Johnny Ronan didn't seem more sophisticated or fantastically intelligent than the next man.

Most of our developer princes didn't seem to be that different from the rest of us. Given the opportunity to do anything they wanted -- riches unconfined, more money than you could spend in your whole life -- they didn't seem to stretch much beyond maybe buying the golf course where they played, getting a private jet for going to rugby matches or going on holidays to Spain.

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