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Thursday 16 August 2018

Michael O'Doherty: Sympathy for Karla avoids a rather inconvenient truth

KARLA Elliott, one time poster girl for Celtic Tiger excesses, has confessed to hitting rock bottom in a heart-wrenching interview.

But even now she can still take people in with a twinkle of her eyes, as an obviously smitten journalist said her story "could have happened to anyone, and there but for the grace of God go you or I".

Which is to ignore a rather inconvenient truth.

Most of us have never been married to a rock star (Def Leppard's Joe Elliott), lived in a mansion in Killiney and driven around Dublin in a red Ferrari wearing a purple Moschino catsuit, all paid for by Joe.

Or set up home following her divorce in a magnificent house on 10 acres in the suitably named Prosperous, Co Kildare, and talked about decorating another home in Dalkey, presumably paid for by Joe.

Or following the break-up, dated a series of men who had either profile or wealth, sometimes both.

In July 1999, VIP featured Karla in her Prosperous home. After we gave the photos to a newspaper, which used them to run a negative story about her, she threatened to sue us.

Split

But she would accept a family holiday to get over the trauma -- at a cost of €10,000. Luckily, she split with her partner soon after and the trip fell through.

Karla has changed her ways but the gusto with which she embraced the trappings of other people's wealth for most of her life means that she will garner little sympathy now. It's called Karma, Elliott.

He lost a fortune, now grabbing Fitz wants us to feel sorry for him

HONESTY is the new black. Suddenly, instead of hiding behind a wall of silence, the fallen heroes of the Celtic Tiger are meeting their failures head on.

Ivan Yates has stood up and faced the music. Jim Mansfield has assured creditors he will do everything to pay them back. And who'd have thought it, but the most elusive of them all, Seanie Fitz, has come out and apologised.

Grudging

Not really, of course. His 'apology' is grudging, half-hearted and self-serving, and will only enrage further those who have suffered at the hands of Anglo Irish, that private piggy bank that he operated so recklessly.

He shifts the blame to others, putting forward the Homer Simpson defence that "it didn't happen on my watch".

Revealing the same fudging ineptitude with words as he displayed with other people's cash, Seanie describes his involvement in the calamitous plan which saw 10 businessmen buy shares in Anglo with loans from the bank itself.

"I won't say I approved the plan," he said, "but I didn't disapprove it."

Victims

He moans about being "one of the biggest victims of all", because he lost money in investments, conveniently forgetting that it was his own bank that lent him €86m in the first place. Pathetically, he cries how "my whole social circle has diminished".

Well doesn't your heart bleed for the poor little outcast?

Most incredibly, he still thinks that he ran a good business, that Anglo's habit of throwing money at anyone who asked -- a culture he was directly responsible for -- was a prudent one.

"I've never seen a loan that has gone bad look good in hindsight," he says, implying that all the loans they approved look sensible at the time.

In case you fall for this hogwash, remember that Anglo was the bank who lent €13m to Breifne O'Brien, the owner of a small taxi company in Blackrock, in order to finance his crazed pyramid investment scheme, one of the countless number of loans which Anglo has no prospect of getting repaid.

Seanie Fitz even allows himself time to sneer at the man he feels should have stopped Anglo's path to self-destruction -- banking regulator Patrick Neary -- "a decent enough guy, but not over-endowed with grey matter".

Let's be honest -- the only grey matter that Seanie possesses is sitting on top of his head.

It's hard to believe that anyone could wake up this morning and think less of this arrogant, vile little man. But I suspect, throughout Ireland, that's what has just happened.

My three wishes for prime-time TV

LIKE many people, I watched in amazement the segment on Friday's Late Late which featured Boyzoner Mikey Graham, currently playing Aladdin in the Gaiety. So here, RTE, are my three wishes.

A few less middle-aged men plugging shows, as Friday night was almost entirely given over to. No more cringe-inducing panto routines masquerading as entertainment. And no more interviews in which B-list entertainers are asked for their political insights.

Because while Mikey's thoughts were not without merit, we all know where this is going to end. With Jim Corr on the show, that's where.

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