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Thursday 26 April 2018

This is Drumm -- so there is only one thing to do: fiddle as economy burns

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

IT's my party and I'll cry if I want to, goes the song. After new revelations that Anglo Irish Bank spent hundreds of thousands on partying, it's taxpayers who are crying.

The bank that could end up costing the Irish state €30bn spent more than €80,000 on a party for 600 staff at the Mansion House in Dublin in its dying days.

On September 5, 2008, just weeks before the government introduced the bank guarantee scheme to save the bank, David Drumm, the chief executive, hosted the 'Back to School Doombuster Party' to boost staff morale.

The invitation he emailed to staff said: "Dear colleague, the stock markets are down. They say the economy is in recession. It rained most of the 'summer'. The holidays are over. This is Anglo so there is only one thing to do -- party!" The drinks bill alone came to €24,000, according to a new book by journalist Simon Carswell, Anglo Republic: Inside the Bank that Broke Ireland.

As the bank teetered on the brink of collapse, the party mood continued. In December 2008, a month before the bank was nationalised, Anglo splashed out €175,000 on a Christmas party at the Mansion House for staff.


It didn't skimp on corporate gifts either. The bank spent €53,000 on hampers and wine and €24,000 bringing customers and their children to the Christmas pantomime at the Gaiety Theatre.

That sum was relatively modest in comparison to its entertainment bill for 2007, when Anglo blew €272,000 on Christmas staff parties in Dublin, London and Boston; €229,000 on three Christmas parties for clients; and €87,000 on hampers and wine.

Its executives and clients were further indulged with tickets to top sporting events. It paid €21,000 for Manchester United tickets; €19,000 for Chelsea season tickets and €42,000 for tickets to Ireland's home rugby games against New Zealand and Argentina.

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