I suppose “broke” to someone like Sean Quinn doesn’t mean quite the same thing as “broke” in your world or mine, but we do live in a world where all poverty is relative, so I suppose we should have some compassion for him.
By all accounts, Sean Quinn is a decent enough fellow, well-regarded by his employees and by those who did business with him. I met him once, briefly, and he struck me as a reasonable individual without the usual airs and graces we associate with Irish people who became mega-rich. Quinn had no interest in K-Club shenanigans or being photographed in the social pages of the Sunday Comic along with the leathery old wives of industry captains who caught their fake accents off a sun-bed.
He still played his game of 45 every Friday night with the same crowd who sat with him around the card table when he had nothing.
I doubt if he has nothing, but he certainly lost the bones and guts of seven billion, thanks to ill-advised transactions in Anglo-Irish, the worst bank in the world. |(Take a bow, Fitzy).
Quinn was trading in things called Contracts for Difference, which, I think, amounted to nothing more than bets. He and his family had built up a 28% stake in Anglo by the time the whole rotten edifice collapsed in 2008 when the markets realised the bank was nothing but a bottle of smoke.
In 2008, Quinn was variously reported to be personally worth anything between three and six billion euros, but after his disastrous ventures into so-called high finance. I heard him speak publicly and ruefully about this, in a speech laden with considerable self-mockery and I have to say that I was impressed by the man on a personal level.
The Anglo debacle is not about personalities, but it’s impossible not to be drawn in when an individual as wealthy as Quinn becomes a casualty.
However, I’d still like to know if Sean Quinn’s “broke” is the same as my “broke”.
When I’m skint, I stay at home looking at the tv or writing this sort of nonsense on the internet. Sean, I’m guessing, can still afford the Friday night game of Forty-five in the pub.