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Seanie the sleeveen is still top dog with the fat cat set



Date Published: {J}

Shed no tears for Seanie FitzPatrick, the disgraced banker who is apparently now eking out a living on €188 a month.

It’s not just that the rest of us who never enjoyed the high life in the first place will now spend the rest of our days contributing four cent out of every euro we pay in tax towards the bail-out of Anglo Irish Bank.


Fitzpatrick had the audacity to claim that he is surviving on a pittance because his investment property portfolio was under-performing – welcome to the real world mate; because of you, our houses aren’t worth half of what we paid for them either.

And at least Fitzie had the benefit of being able to sanction his own loans so that his house in Bray and apartments in Smithfield and Killiney might not have been subject to the sort of financial scrutiny that the rest of us mere mortals were dragged through.

In the statement to the High Court last week, FitzPatrick revealed he receives €3,693 per month net of tax, as payment from an Irish Life Annuity. But his submission showed that is virtually wiped out by the net loss of €3,505 per month he makes on these three properties.

The disgraced banker co-owns those properties and receives a rental income of more than €50,000 per year. But he told the court that when mortgage repayments and other overheads on the properties are taken into account he makes the net loss. That was how he came up with the monthly income figure of €188.

So here’s the solution, Fitzie – sell them for whatever you can manage and at least you won’t have to exist on bread and water any longer. Not until you’re behind bars anyway.

The former bank chief has debts of more than €145 million, compared with assets of just over €47 million – so let’s take the €47 million off him and call it a good start.

FitzPatrick’s assets also include property interests in Britain, France, Hungary, South Africa and the US. Let’s ensure he never sees the inside of them again and that he never receives a penny in rental income from them either.

That won’t happen of course because the sleeveen has reportedly shifted his assets into his wife’s name and she’s now worth more than €3 million after the carve-up – and Catriona FitzPatrick could be entitled to half of her husband’s €3.4m pension pot.

Creditors will also be unable to touch her interest – potentially worth as much as €2m – in at least five properties co-owned with her husband.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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