Exotic creature with gold-buttoned blazer makes an impression at court
The regulars at the Dublin District Court were fascinated at the arrival of Seán FitzPatrick into their world, writes MIRIAM LORD
THIS WON’T have been the first time globetrotting businessman Seán FitzPatrick stepped into an airport arrivals hall to be met by a welcoming party.
He would have scanned the line of well-dressed people holding up names on rectangles of cardboard, recognised his own and walked to his chauffeur.
Or more likely, because he was so rich and so important, the driver would have instantly come to him.
The smartly dressed people were there for him again yesterday morning, waiting at dawn in Dublin Airport as the night-flight from the US touched down.
They didn’t need to hold up any card.
They know their man – it’s more than three years since gardaí began investigating the financial affairs of Seán FitzPatrick. They know him inside out. And at 5.37 precisely, they arrested him.
So began another chauffeured journey from the airport for high-flying Seánie.
He was taken to the Bridewell Garda station and charged in relation to alleged financial irregularities at Anglo Irish Bank.
FitzPatrick was held in a cell, before he was led to a prison van to join the rest of the defendants, part of the normal daily transfer to the Courts of Criminal Justice.
The dapper former millionaire wasn’t wearing his gold watch yesterday. The navy blazer draped over his wrists concealing that essential accessory of custodial bling – handcuffs.
Then Seánie’s journey continued on to the CCJ, a huge steel, glass and marble edifice – the Celtic Tiger’s gift to the criminal classes.
It’s been described as the judicial equivalent of a Nama hotel. A neat bit of symmetry.
It was business as usual in the District Court, save for the huge influx of crime reporters and finance correspondents and colour writers fighting for space among the morning flotsam of petty offenders.
Judge Cormac Dunne got to work, dealing briskly with the list.
It’s not a nice place to be. A smell of stale beer hung in the air at the back of the room. Sickly looking young men and women waited to be called, familiar with the drill when their time came.
The judge dealt patiently, courteously and compassionately with the people who came before him. Some could barely keep their eyes open, others sat with trembling hands.
Twenty cases were heard before Seán FitzPatrick’s name was called. Everyone wanted to see him. The regulars as fascinated as the rest, because they had asked about the fuss and wanted to witness the arrival of this exotic creature into their world.
A side door opened. FitzPatrick walked into court, took a few paces to his left and sat in the place reserved for defendants.
A young man sat next to this reporter. He fidgeted, stood up and sat down, watching, open-mouthed. His face was sweating and his skin had a waxy, grey pallor about it.