Did you ever owe €71 million?
No. Neither did I.
It’s a staggering amount of money, but by the same token, I’ve never been a hugely-wealthy lawyer, I’ve never had a property portfolio worth a billion euros and I’ve never owned a palace on the Vico Road next door to Bono, so what would I know?
Brian O’Donnell, on the other hand, knows all about these things. Brian has been a hugely-wealthy lawyer who grew accustomed to living in a magnificent palace on the Vico Road and you know, magnificent palaces have a way of growing on you. Somehow, it’s just so much harder to be evicted from a magnificent, opulent palace than it is from the average 3-bed semi.
But unfortunately, such are the vicissitudes of life, especially when you find yourself owing €71 million to a bank that seeks to recover some of the money it lent you. A bank, by the way, that was bailed out using taxpayers money. A bank we wouldn’t want to fail a second time.
How did Brian find himself in this appalling situation, owing €71 million — let me say it in words, seventy one million euros — to the Bank of Ireland?
I don’t know. It must have been one hell of a motor car he took out a loan for, or else one seriously snazzy extension.
Seventy one million euros. Say it and savour it, because for sure, you’ll never see it. Seventy one million euros.
That’s a lot of dosh.
I think it’s fair to say that Brian isn’t an ordinary householder who ran into difficulty due to losing his job. It’s probably fair to point out that he has no small children running around his Killiney mansion who might end up as mendicant snotty orphans if he finds himself ejected from his trophy palace.
Brian, in other words, is not your average terrified home-owner trying to stave off the attentions of a heartless banker, but that didn’t stop a group calling itself the Land League from blockading his palace, preventing Brian’s house being repossessed. Brian, meanwhile, remains inside his palace, still not paying back the €71 million he owes the bank. What would Michael Davitt make of it all?
It’s hard to escape the echoes of those other millionaire Killiney denizens, the Kellys, who resisted eviction despite owning rental properties all over Ireland and London.
What is it about vastly wealthy people? Do they feel the pain of eviction more than the dirt-poor negative-equity wage slaves who are routinely turfed out of their homes by the banks?
Is it that they’ll feel more pain having to live in a four-bed Foxrock estate house than the poor people will feel having to live on the streets?
I feel like saying fuck them, but I won’t.
Yes I will. Fuck them.