Hard-working self-made man who rose to head of lending

Whelan left the trial alone. It was his 52nd birthday

Former Anglo Irish Bank executive Pat Whelan leaves the Circuit Criminal Court, Dublin.

Former Anglo Irish Bank executive Pat Whelan leaves the Circuit Criminal Court, Dublin.

Fri, Apr 18, 2014, 01:00

Patrick Whelan was an attentive figure throughout the 10 weeks of the first Anglo Irish Bank trial.

Whelan, the former head of Irish lending in Anglo, dressed neatly every day but, unlike his co-accused, always wore an open-necked shirt.

He grew up in inner-city Dublin, at Marlborough Street, went to Marlborough Street primary school and was the first pupil from it to go on to secondary school. Whelan’s father was a roofer who died when he was 13.

Whelan’s mother was a cleaner in the Department of Education, which is located on the same street as her home, and also was a cleaner in Imperial Typewriters on Parliament Street in Dublin 2. According to a former neighbour the Whelans were a “hard-working, decent family.”

“Pat was a good student. He went to St Joseph’s CBS in Fairview, where he was very good at maths. It was very unusual for anyone at the time from the area to go to secondary school. Times were very tough,” his former neighbour recalled.

Whelan’s grandmother’s brother was the father of Luke Kelly, the Dubliners singer.

Kelly was known in the area for turning up at the Whelans’ house to sing at Christmas and on other family occasions.

Whelan was accepted into Trinity College Dublin to study English and history about 1979 or 1980. He could not accept the place, however, as his family could not afford it. He worked in a number of jobs, including in the Irish Press , before getting a job with AIB in 1981.

According to a former colleague in the bank, Whelan’s work took him to a number of branches, including working in Co Louth and north Co Dublin.

“He was good and rising through the ranks when Anglo offered him a job,” the ex-AIB banker said. “That would have been in the late 1980s. I think he left because there were better opportunities in Anglo at the time. It was less stuffy and seen as a more dynamic place to work.”

Whelan joined Anglo as a lending executive. Like most of the bank’s staff, he was based in Anglo’s headquarters on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.

By 1990, when Anglo was still very small, making a profit of about £4 million a year, he was an assistant manager.

In 1991 he was made manager. He hired a young man called David Drumm as an assistant manager about two years later.

By 1997 Whelan was an associate director in the bank and was mainly involved in lending. In 2002 he moved into group risk, which was led at that time by Peter Killen.