Another man who left for entirely different reasons, but retains interests in this septic isle, is financier Derek Quinlan. Back in the day, he borrowed recklessly, put together consortiums of masters of the universe, and reaped obscene profits for all involved. Once the foul stuff hit the fan, he was out through the gap, relocating to Geneva, far from the madding crowd. He owes our bank, Anglo, €300m. He made the Nama top 10. His debts have been socialised into your pockets.
Imagine my shock when I read in the Irish Times a few weeks back that Derek is a director of a company which has won a state contract to collect unpaid court fines. The company, Tazbell, employs "pro-active contact attempts" to get the court's money. Quinlan is a director, but his wife is a shareholder. Sound familiar? If poor old Derek was the one holding the shares, somebody could go after it on our behalf. But conveniently, he doesn't.
If you don't pay your TV licence because you've lost your job on account of the excesses of Derek and the mates, and you can't pay a fine, Derek's outfit will come after you with their pro-active contact attempts. Derek will make money out of your hardship, while he lies up in Geneva, rebuilding his empire. He owes us €300m, which we will never see, yet his family prosper on the back of the misfortune to befall the most vulnerable who can't pay court fines.
He's another man who will spawn a dynastic fortune, passing on great wealth to his kids, just as he passed on his debts to ours.