Billionaire Stripe founder Patrick Collison has taken Forbes Magazine to task over an article referencing the Tipperary brothers' "escape" from "stab city" to Silicon Valley.
“Some call it ‘stab city’,” begins the article by contributing writer Stephen McBride.
"Many folks think Ireland is all rolling green hills and five-star golf courses. But in the middle of the Irish countryside is a city called Limerick – known as the 'murder capital' of Europe. "
Given the global success story of the Collisons – both brothers now reportedly worth $9.5 billion apiece – a profile in Forbes is not unusual. But the language has drawn fire on social media.
Patrick Collison quickly weighed in on Twitter saying the finance magazine was “not only mistaken about Limerick but the idea of ‘overcoming’ anything is crazy. We are who we are because we grew up where we did”.
That was actually Dromineer in Co Tipperary, some 30 miles outside Limerick. In a 2014 interview with the Financial Times, John Collison quipped about how he often wondered "if it's desirable to grow up somewhere boring because you're forced to find your own interests".
Firm valued at $95bn
Those interests – computer programming – would eventually culminate in making Stripe a household name company recently valued at $95 billion, the most valuable start-up in the US.
“Limerick is the last place you want your kids growing up,” continued Mr McBride’s article, published on Friday. “But two brothers who went to high school there recently beat the odds. Not only did they escape ‘stab city’, they moved to Silicon Valley.”
Minister of State at the Department of Finance Patrick O’Donovan tweeted that as a representative of the Government he was calling on the magazine to “immediately apologise to the people of Limerick for the insult and hurt caused by the article”.
His fellow Limerick TD Kieran O’Donnell also demanded Forbes issue an immediate apology and retraction describing the piece as “disgraceful, baseless and inaccurate”.
On Friday night the offending article appeared to become inaccessible on the Forbes website but it is unclear whether it was removed. Forbes could not be immediately reached for comment.