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Brush with satire bankers in frame

FIRST came "Cowengate", when the appearance of nude paintings of Taoiseach Brian Cowen in two Dublin galleries -- one of him pictured on a toilet -- caused quite a stir.

Now, it's the turn of the much-maligned bankers to face the biting satire of an artist's brush, with prominent financiers, Irish Nationwide boss Michael Fingleton and former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick in the spotlight.

In gangster-style pose, the two men are depicted sporting flash pinstripe suits and fedoras in front of a bank, with Mr Fingleton brandishing a machine gun and Mr FitzPatrick clutching a handgun and a bag of "loot".

The 24in- by-30ins acrylic on canvas painting, with an asking price of €900, hangs in the Apollo Gallery in Dublin's Dawson Street.

Another painting shows a hatless Mr Fingleton outside the Irish Nationwide offices playing a fiddle.

Both pieces are the work of Irish artist Tom Byrne, described by the gallery as "one of the hottest new painters around".

Last night the Wicklow-based artist said he only finished his latest works last week and felt the banking crisis had changed the nation.

"I was in a shop the other day and a man was spending money on the Lotto. He said 'I hope I win, but where would I put my money'?"

As a professional artist, Mr Byrne said he tried to connect with the Irish psyche.

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