Wednesday 23 May 2018

Byrne goes from exotic café to prison kitchen

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

THOMAS Byrne counted down the days to his trial working in a Dublin cafe. It was no surprise that considering he is doing porridge in Mountjoy, one of the first things he did was apply for a job in the kitchen.

As he serves out his 12-year jail term (four years of his 16-year sentence were suspended) for €52m theft and fraud offences, he can at least hone his skills.

Byrne's trial heard how he was working as a waiter at the café, Foam, on Strand Street in the north inner city. The café serves up frothy lattés and exotic mains.

Even the soups are sophisticated; Cream of Courgette with Tarragon and Chanterelle, Mitsooki with Amontillado, French bean and celeriac and cream of swede were listed on the restaurant's Facebook page.

During his time there, Byrne was known for wearing colourful jeans and T-shirts while serving up foamy lattés to the locals. He has an eye for fashion that clearly dates back to the boom years. One bank, KBC, which believed him to be a wealthy client worth pursuing, was under the impression that he ran a consultancy advising French fashion houses, Prada, Chloe and Roberto Cavali.

At his trial he wore a multitude of colourful coats and gloves every day, as a good fashionista would.

But Thomas Byrne is years away from wearing white jeans in the kitchen or serving up pasta with asparagus, pecorino and double cream to the inmates of Mountjoy.

Prison sources say that he will have to start at the bottom -- meaning with the washing up.

At least he is on the D Wing, where the unsavoury practice of "slopping out" has been phased out and chamber pots replaced with proper working lavatories.


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