Tuesday 23 January 2018

'This is a nightmare I might never wake from'

So said Paul O'Brien about the death of his daughter: words with a sad weight now his own body has been found, writes Liam Collins

Paul with his late daughter, Lynsey, who fell from a cruise-ship balcony while on a family holiday in 2006.
Paul with his late daughter, Lynsey, who fell from a cruise-ship balcony while on a family holiday in 2006.
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

SOMEHOW I knew Paul O'Brien wasn't long for this world after our first meeting in the Gresham Hotel. Dressed in leather jacket and jeans, as he sat down he looked normal, but as soon as he began to talk you knew he had the ferocious manic energy of someone suffering from bipolar disorder. Combined with the death of his daughter, it was a lethal combination.

He started to talk about a book he was finishing about cruise ships and the night 15-year-old Lynsey O'Brien, his daughter, fell, or jumped, from a cruise ship in the Caribbean on January 4, 2006, after consuming a cocktail of alcoholic drinks at the bar. It was a book I knew would never be published in Ireland, because Paul blamed other people for the problems in his own life, and he did it in graphic detail. "Everything is gone, I am like everybody else in this country, the banks are moving in, it's all just paperwork now," said the one-time multi-millionaire.

Paul O'Brien was a self-made businessman from the west Dublin suburbs who started work at 18 and cashed in on the plastic and aluminium window boom. He didn't know how to handle either the money or the pressures that it brought. He literally 'splashed the cash' on a massive house, investment properties, fast cars and the conspicuous consumption of drink and cocaine. He had a €4m house in Terenure, a villa in Spain and 22 different properties dotted around Dublin. But Paul told me he was living a dysfunctional life, consumed by unhappiness and self-harm.

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