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Andrew Lynch: Your grinning face says it all, Seanie, the last laugh is on us

Sean FitzPatrick should be crying all the way to the bank. At the High Court the disgraced ex-chairman of Anglo Irish revealed the shocking fact that he's now reduced to living on a mere €188 a month.

His presentation was so effective that, by the end, some of us were wondering if we should have a national whip round to rescue this poor innocent banker from his desperate plight.

Sadly, having spun us all such a brilliant sob story, Seanie went and ruined it all by grinning broadly as he left through the back door and stepped into a green Jaguar.


The truth is that while his statement of income is technically correct, the poster boy for Ireland's banking collapse won't be missing any meals in the near future.

With his wife still worth more than €3m after his assets have been carved up and no sign of any criminal charges being brought against him, he is set to walk away from this debacle in a very comfortable position -- while the real victims of his reckless behaviour pay the price in wages and jobs.

The kid glove treatment handed out to Seanie is yet another example of the double standards that pervade our criminal justice system. In theory, everybody is supposed to be equal in the eyes of the law.

In reality, people who fail to pay their television licences get banged up while professionals who leave the country billions of euro poorer end up walking away with a smile on their faces.


Amazingly, FitzPatrick was greeted with laughter and handshakes by some of the country's most eminent lawyers in the Four Courts' tea rooms yesterday -- suggesting that no matter what he's done, a "them and us" mentality is still alive and well among the white-wigged brigade.

At the height of the boom, Seanie Fitz boasted that he and his fellow bankers deserved most of the credit because, in his own words, "We had balls."

The truth was that he had a neck like the jockey's proverbials. We now know that he took out massive loans from his own bank and failed to declare them.

Combined with Anglo's suicidal lending policies, this helped to create a massive black hole that is now being plugged by the taxpayer at a cost of €30bn or more.

Even after Anglo had been nationalised, Seanie was highly offended by the suggestion that he owed any apology to the people who had just bailed him out.

Speaking on Marian Finucane's radio programme in 2008, he breezily declared that he "couldn't say sorry with any sincerity" because the end of the Celtic Tiger was entirely due to international factors.

Shortly afterwards, he delivered another gem in a speech to a local society in Greystones when he urged the Government to cut the "sacred cows" of child benefit and universal pensions while cutting taxes on hard-working business leaders such as himself.

If Seanie was prepared to utter even a brief apology for his actions, he might be entitled to some sympathy.

Instead, it is hard to escape the suspicion that he is still sniggering up his sleeve at what he has managed to get away with.


Just like Fingers Fingleton, it seems that sorry is the hardest word to say -- which is why both men's most recent television appearances have involved them scurrying away from the microphones of RTE reporters like frightened rats.

When Bernie Madoff's $65bn money-laundering fraud was revealed in the US, he claimed that he and his wife cry themselves to sleep at night.

The US legal system decided to save its tears for his victims and sentenced him to 150 years behind bars.

That's the kind of tough justice that we're crying out for here -- but instead, the sickening reality is that Seanie, Fingers and all the other chancers who landed us in this mess are set to have the last laugh.