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Seanie unruffled by his night in the cells

NOT even a marathon 31-hour stint in garda custody could rumple the famously dapper figure of Sean FitzPatrick.

When he finally emerged from the confines of Bray garda station yesterday afternoon, having been released without charge, the disgraced former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank still looked every inch the debonair businessman.

And it seems that for this poster boy of the crippled Irish banking system, a 6.30am alarm call from gardai was no excuse for a sloppy image.

Instead, FitzPatrick strode purposely out of the station, dressed to impress in a sharp grey slacks, a blue striped shirt, pink tie and a stylish gold-buttoned navy blazer.

His silver hair remained perfectly coiffed.

It was only the pallor of the 61-year-old's normally tanned face and the puffiness around the eyes that suggested his time in custody had proved something of a strain.

Outside, the pavements of Convent Avenue had begun to fill with curious onlookers.

With the siege of Bray Garda Station moving into its second day, locals had decided that they too wanted a piece of the action.

"I heard he wasn't the brightest spark but he loved money," said one. "His mother used to work in a shop in Bray, you know."

Others were slightly less ambiguous about their feelings. Two men from Clare and the Aran Islands, Colm and Joe, revealed they had travelled out to Bray from Dublin in a bid to catch a glimpse of Anglo's fallen tzar.

"I just want to see him nailed," insisted Joe. "After all, the banks are chasing me for money at the moment."

It is now 15 months since the banker resigned in disgrace, yet it took until Thursday for gardai to question him on allegations of financial irregularities.

"It's not before time," sniffed one woman.

As the clock struck 1pm, tension mounted on the streets as all eyes focused on the wooden doors of the building. Officers took the precautionary measure of dispatching a team of gardai out to the gates just moments before FitzPatrick appeared.

It wasn't the most auspicious guard of honour for someone used to elegant surroundings, but the man of the moment didn't seem to notice.

Instead, he strode confidently out the doors, into an unglamorous Volkswagen Golf, and away.