The appearance in court of two former Anglo Irish Bank senior executives last week has led to the identity of the so-called ‘Maple Ten’, two of whom carry strong Longford connections.
Dromard’s Joe O’Reilly and Seamus Ross, a native of Drumlish were among a total of 15 borrowers named in the Dublin District Court last Monday (July 23) following a series of charges levelled against former executives Willie McAteer and Pat Whelan.
Mr McAteer (61), Auburn Villas, Rathgar, Dublin was charged with 16 counts of giving unlawful financial assistance to buy shares in Anglo Irish Bank in 2008.
It’s alleged unlawful financial help to buy shares was given between July 10 and July 17 2008 to 15 people including Mr O’Reilly and Mr Ross and several members of Sean Quinn’s family. The charges also relate to the July 17 to July 30 period of the same year when similar assistance was allegedly given to Patricia Quinn, the wife of the now bankrupt businessman.
Mr Whelan (50), of “Rachra”, Coast Road, Malahide, Co Dublin was also charged with the same 16 offences.
But it is the revelation that two of Co Longford’s most pre-eminent building developers were allegedly given loans by Anglo in 2008 to buy shares in the bank which is sure to generate much debate locally.
The move was allegedly an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the price of the bank’s shares from collapsing.
Both Mr O’Reilly and Mr Ross are considered to be among Ireland’s leading building magnates.
At 48 years of age, Mr O’Reilly’s best-known investment continues to be the Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin, the country’s largest shopping centre.
He also owns the Carlton Cinema site in Dublin city centre and was one of the top borrowers in the first wave of transfers taken over by NAMA in 2010.
His fellow, north Longford counterpart was just as active during the construction boom. Mr Ross’ flagship company, Menolly Homes was formed more than three decades ago, quickly becoming one of Ireland’s largest housing building firms. The company had an estimated turnover of €250 million in 2006 and earlier this year offloaded a €148m office block in London as it attempted to pay off some of its loans.
Mr McAteer and Mr Whelan meanwhile, along with the bank’s former chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick, who was also charged with the same offences were granted bail until October 8.