Fronting up is the best way to mind your back

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Ben Dunne knew he was in trouble when police pulled him in from the balcony of an Orlando hotel, paranoid after taking cocaine, and with a prostitute in his room.

Eamon Casey knew the game was up when the Irish Times ran a front-page story on money missing from the Diocesan funds which was paid to Annie Murphy, mother of the boy he had fathered when he was Bishop of Kerry.

Both are gone to their respective rewards now and there’s little point in raking over the coals – beyond a pen picture explanation of how they found themselves at the centre of a media storm.

But what is worth recalling is the completely contrasting ways they faced up to their respective crises.

And while all of this happened over 30 years ago, there are lessons to be learned in any era – dare one suggest in the corridors of RTÉ for a start?

Back in 1992, Ben Dunne was managing director of Dunnes Stores, when police had found him partially undressed and threatening to jump from the balcony of his suite on the 17th floor after a cocaine binge with a paid escort.

Bishop Casey was forced to resign that same year after it was revealed he had fathered a son, Peter, with an American divorcee Annie Murphy, before he’d been appointed to Galway in 1976.

Ben Dunne held his hands up and gave a series of television, radio and newspapers, confessing his stupidly and his crime – telling RTÉ: “I can blame nobody but myself.”

His legal team worked hard to reduce the charges and eventually he got off with little more than a misdemeanour – although it was to ultimately signal the end of his involvement with Dunnes, the success story founded by his father Ben Senior in Cork.

He was ordered to attend 28 days of rehab in London and pay a $5,000 fine instead of three years in jail.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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