Monday 18 November 2019

Ireland’s last tycoons: Who is still living the Celtic Tiger lifestyle in 2012?

Willie Kealy

For some, words don’t mean what we thought they meant. Words like debt, for instance. Loan. Broke. Personal guarantee. Gambling. Court order. Consequences. Responsibility.

These, it turns out, are words that exist to be analysed, argued over at great length and great expense, then appealed through every court in which your lawyers can file papers, until hell freezes over.

That is the world into which some of those who rose highest in the boom have made a seamless transition. They were the developers, the builders, the speculators. They are not all the same. Yet they have one thing in common – they have found that there is life after debt.

And not all their lives are the same now. Some continue to lead a charmed existence still squeezing a profit from what remains of their empires or finding new challenges in China, the USA, Qatar or Brazil. Some have been saved by the bail-out bank that is Nama which has put them on the payroll. Some are damned to penury without eliciting a hint of sympathy from any quarter. And a few can be labelled “The Disappeared.”

There were fools who would have gone bust in any business; there were knaves who thought they saw a good thing and rushed to cash in without the pedigree of experience. But there were also experts in their field, some few of whom showed more savvy than others in their risk-taking. All took a hiding to one degree or another. Yet, amazingly, out of all this carnage, many have emerged still trailing the trappings of wealth.

This week in the Sunday Independent we track down them all - the charmed, the beautiful, the saved, the damned and the disappeared, and find out how much the real world has impacted on their fabled millionaire lifestyle.

Who’s lost it all? And who's still living the Tiger lifestyle?

Don’t miss Gene Kerrigan, Ronald Quinlan, Tom Lyons, Maeve Sheehan and Liam Collins on Ireland’s last tycoons – only in the Sunday Independent.

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