Former colleagues and business figures attend Sean FitzPatrick’s funeral

‘Dad had a lot of professional highs and lows in his life’

Former executives at Anglo Irish Bank and prominent businessmen joined family and friends at the funeral on Tuesday afternoon for the lender's former chairman and chief executive Sean FitzPatrick.

They included Mr FitzPatrick's successor as chief executive, David Drumm, as well as other one-time Anglo Irish Bank executives Tiarnan O'Mahoney and Pat Whelan.

Telecoms entrepreneur Denis O'Brien, former INM chairman Leslie Buckley and tailor Louis Copeland were also among those who attended the Holy Rosary Church, in Greystones Co Wicklow to pay their respects to Mr FitzPatrick, who died on Monday last of cardiac arrest, aged 73.


Erstwhile VHI chief executive Vincent Sheridan joined other close friends, including former Presentation College Bray classmate, Tino Cassoni, in reading prayers of the faithful at the service led by Fr John McDonagh.


Mr Fitzpatrick’s daughter, Sarah, told mourners in a eulogy at the end of the service of how he was a devoted husband to wife, Caitríona, whom he met and pursued when at college, and father to her and her brothers, Jonathan and David.

“Dad had a lot of professional highs and lows in his life. He was a man who had enormous mental strength,” she said.

“When we were down he would pick us up. He would constantly remind us that the road in life is long and winding, but the measure of a person is not their successes but, in fact, how they could find a way to move forward when they have been knocked down off the horse. In that regard, our dad was a giant of a man.”

The Co Wicklow accountant-turned-banker oversaw the rise of a small Dublin lender into the country’s third-largest bank, valued at more than €13 billion at its peak in 2007, before Anglo collapsed in the 2008-09 financial crash, landing Irish taxpayers with a bailout bill of more than €29 billion. The remains of the bank were subsequently put into liquidation in 2013.


Mr FitzPatrick took on the dominant players of Irish banking, AIB and Bank of Ireland, and turned Anglo into a competitive force that helped bankroll the Celtic Tiger era.

He drove Anglo’s growth from having a loan book of just €600,000 in 1986 to more than €34 billion by the time he moved from the role of chief executive to chairman in 2005.

The bank financed some of the country’s major property projects as the lender of choice for builders and developers.

He resigned from Anglo at the height of the crisis, in December 2008, after it emerged that he concealed tens of millions of euro worth of loans over several years. This later led to criminal charges, but he was acquitted in 2017, following one of the State’s longest criminal trials.

This article was corrected on Thursday, November 18th to remove an erroneous reference to Larry Goodman attending the funeral

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times