Monday 20 November 2017

Editorial: One-time tycoon O'Reilly leaves mixed legacy

Tony O'Reilly
Tony O'Reilly

There may be those who take pleasure in the fall of a once great man, but a majority of people will find little joy in the 'outrageous fortune' that has now befallen the one-time 'golden boy' of Irish sport and business, Tony O'Reilly, Ireland's first and for many years best-known international businessman. The judgment obtained by AIB for €22.6m, which it can now enforce immediately, will, it is expected, leave the one-time tycoon beleaguered by other banks and creditors seeking repayment of a total of €195m in outstanding loans.

For a man of his stature, at home and abroad, it is the final humiliation, which in a few short years has devastated his business empire and his personal fortune.

The recession of the last five years has been a 'great leveller', swallowing up big and small with equal abandon. Tony O'Reilly is probably its most high-profile casualty; even his great wealth, his trophy homes, his Monet painting and other assets haven't been enough to save him from the public ignominy of the Commercial Court.

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