Saturday 24 February 2018

Celtic's demise not end of story

CELTIC Bookmakers has gone into receivership with the loss of more than 200 jobs and its owner, Ivan Yates, is liable for more than €5m in personal guarantees. Although the country's financial crash has caused bigger casualties, this one is particularly shocking.

Mr Yates is a prominent public figure, but one of a different kind from the bankers and developers of whose activities we hear so much. He first made his name as a Fine Gael deputy for Wexford, and was once spoken of as a possible future Taoiseach. He went on to forge two new careers, as a broadcaster and a bookmaker. The first will surely continue to thrive, but the second has come to a sad end.

Like its Tiger namesake, Celtic flourished in an age of optimism, then ran into the stone wall of recession and financial collapse. At its peak it owned almost 50 shops. In 2006 it made a profit of €4m and was valued at €30m. When the tide turned, revenues fell by 50pc in three years and the company lost €1.5m in a single year.

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