News Comment

Saturday 3 December 2016

The sad and public fall of the House of O'Reilly

The bankruptcy of Tony O'Reilly was the last act in the unfolding tragedy of his business life, writes Liam Collins

Published 22/11/2015 | 02:30

Tony O'Reilly: ‘I have built a reputation for honest dealing and straight talking’
Tony O'Reilly: ‘I have built a reputation for honest dealing and straight talking’

We may be a nation of begrudgers, but who among us takes pleasure in seeing a once great man humiliated and stripped of the trophies of a glittering career; the trappings of a once successful life but, most of all, the dignity and status they once conferred on him?

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To give him his full title, Sir Anthony O'Reilly saw it all crystallise in a short, dry hearing in the aptly named Ansbacher House in the Bahamas this weekend. Finally, harried and pursued by his bankers for legitimately owed debts of many millions, he drew a line in the sand and endured what must be the final indignity for an ego as big as his: bankruptcy.

It is no longer a bad word in the Irish lexicon because it has now become so commonplace, but to go from billionaire to bankrupt in a few short years is akin to one of the great beasts of the jungle being brought to ground by a pack of jackals.

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