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Where are they now?: Deirdre Purcell

HOW did a romantic novelist end up on the board of the Central Bank you might ask? On the other hand, given the stranger-than-fiction shenanigans it presided over, perhaps it was ideal for a writer.

Born in Dublin in 1945, Deirdre Purcell worked variously as a civil servant, an Aer Lingus reservations clerk and an actor at the Abbey.

She moved into journalism in the 1970s, becoming the first female anchor on RTE's Nine O'Clock News and went on to work at the Irish Press and the Sunday Tribune.

In 2003, Charlie McCreevy appointed Purcell to the Central Bank's board. She was on its Audit and Risk Management Committee, which was tasked to advise on "risk management policies" according to the bank's own blurb. He also nominated her for the board of the new Financial Regulator (IFSRA), set up after such banking scandals as the $691m AIB/Rusnak fraud.

Both directorships ended in April 2010, just ahead of an overhaul that saw the entire boards replaced in October. (Just ahead, also, of two reports highlighting that both the Central Bank and the Regulator had been napping while a property bubble inflated and lax bank regulation was rife.)

These days Purcell contributes to RTE Radio's It Says In The Papers and other broadcast programmes.

Her latest book, Pearl, was published last October. She declined to say whether her Central Bank time has provided any novel material.

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