The key players of the banking crisis: where are they now?

From retirement to board roles to prison, we track the fates of the central figures

Brian Cowen

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen retired from politics in February 2011, having served as leader since May 2008.

The Co Offaly politician, who last year received an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland, has kept a low profile since his retirement from politics. In May 2014 he joined the board of Topaz Energy, the business formerly owned by Denis O'Brien. The following year he became a director of another one of O'Brien's businesses, the Beacon Hospital in Sandyford.

While Cowen is no longer a director of Topaz, which is now Circle K, he is listed as a director, alongside his wife, of Cowen Consulting, a management consultancy based out of Tullamore.

Kevin Cardiff

Kevin Cardiff was the most senior civil servant during the Republic's financial crisis, having served as secretary general of the Department of Finance from 2010 to February 2012. Prior to that he was second secretary general of the Department of Finance from 2006 to 2010.


In August, Cardiff joined the board of KBC Bank Ireland as a non-executive director having been self-employed as a consultant since March. He's also chairman of the board of auditors of the European Stability Mechanism.

In 2012 Cardiff joined the European Court of Auditors, where he stayed until February of this year. In 2016 he published a book on the events of the financial crisis, Recap: Inside Ireland's Financial Crisis.

Patrick Neary

Patrick Neary, the financial regulator at the time of the crash, resigned from his position on January 31st, 2009. At a banking inquiry in 2015 Neary said he found the period very difficult. Nonetheless, he said he understood some of the public ire.

At the same banking inquiry, responding to a line of questioning from Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath, Neary accepted that on the night of the bank guarantee, he expressed the opinion to policymakers that the banks were solvent.

John Hurley

After more than 40 years in public service, John Hurley retired as governor of the Central Bank of Ireland in September 2009. Prior to the recession he described the banking sector as "stable and well-placed to withstand market turbulence".

Hurley held his position in the Central Bank for more than seven years, having previously served as secretary general at the Department of Health and the Department of Finance.

Before the banking inquiry in 2015, he said he accepted that, in his role as governor, he underestimated the risk to the Irish financial system. “I would like to reiterate my regret that the bank underestimated the risks that subsequently materialised. These turned out to be much greater than we had anticipated,” he said.

Denis Casey, chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent

Denis Casey was the chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent at the time of the crash. He was ultimately pressured to quit his role by then minister for finance Brian Lenihan.

In the years since, Casey was convicted of a €7.2 billion conspiracy to defraud. He had pleaded not guilty to conspiring to mislead investors, depositors and lenders about the true health of Anglo Irish Bank in 2008.

Casey was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison.

He subsequently planned to appeal the severity of his sentence but formally withdrew the application in July 2017.

Seán FitzPatrick, chairman of Anglo Irish Bank

The former Anglo Irish Bank executives arguably had the most illustrious experience of all bankers in the aftermath of the financial crisis. FitzPatrick stood down from his position as chairman of the bank in December 2008, having previously been its chief executive. He also stood down from the boards of Aer Lingus and Smurfit Kappa.

In March 2010 he was arrested after members of the Garda fraud squad raided his home. In the same month Anglo took legal action against him in an attempt to recover unpaid loans of €70 million. Some three months later he was declared bankrupt in the High Court.

In December 2011 FitzPatrick was arrested a second time by gardaí as part of an investigation into “financial irregularities”. He was released without charge. Seven months later he was arrested for a third time and charged with 16 offences relating to his role in advising and lending millions to a golden circle of investors to falsely inflate Anglo’s share price. In April 2014 he was acquitted on all charges against him in relation to the Maple 10 case.

In November 2016 he again went on trial, this time accused of misleading the bank's auditors over a five-year period. The case was mired with problems and Judge John Aylmer ultimately directed that he be acquitted.

David Drumm, chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank

David Drumm resigned as chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank in December 2008 having been appointed in January 2005.

In June 2009 he moved to the US with his family and set up a US consultancy business, Harborlight Capital Partners, which would later be renamed Delta Corporate Finance.

After failing to reach a deal on his €8.5 million debt with Anglo's new management team, he voluntarily filed for bankruptcy in Boston. Anglo's government-installed management team claimed he shouldn't be able to discharge from bankruptcy because he allegedly concealed assets and defrauded creditors.

After a four-year legal battle, in January 2016 a US judge found Drumm was “not remotely credible”, and the following day the State launched an attempt to extradite him. In October he was arrested, and in March 2016 he was returned to Ireland and arrested, charged with conspiracy to defraud and false accounting relating to €7.2 billion in deposits placed in Anglo’s accounts by Irish Life and Permanent. In June this year he was found guilty and jailed for six years.

Eugene Sheehy, chief executive of AIB

Eugene Sheehy stepped down from his position as chief executive of AIB in May 2009, having been appointed in 2005.

In November 2012 he bowed to pressure and agreed to a pension reduction, taking a cut of about 20 per cent, to bring it down to €250,000.

At the 2015 banking enquiry he said he was “very sorry for what happened” and his role in the events of the crash. “I know a lot of people were let down and feel very angry, deservedly so ... I take personal responsibility for my actions and omissions,” he said.

Sheehy, a fellow of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland, took up the position of senior vice-president and integration executive in M&T Bank Corporation in October 2016. He had previously worked with M&T when AIB owned a stake in the US bank.

Dermot Gleeson, chairman of AIB

Former attorney general Dermot Gleeson was appointed to the board of AIB in 2000. He took over the chairmanship from Lochlann Quinn in 2007. His reign coincided with severe turbulence at the bank, a fact that led one shareholder to throw eggs at him and other executives at a meeting in May 2009. Gleeson resigned from his role in the same month alongside Eugene Sheehy and other bank executives.

Gleeson (69) is listed on the Law Library’s website as a practising senior council on the Munster circuit. His specialised areas include constitutional law and dispute resolution.

At the 2015 banking inquiry, he said he did his “level best” as chairman of AIB. But, he added, “the outcome was entirely unsatisfactory and that’s a responsibility that I absolutely accept and I can never get away from it”.

Brian Goggin, chief executive of Bank of Ireland

After almost 40 years in Bank of Ireland, Brian Goggin stood down in 2009, saying he was “proud” of his career at the bank, “serving the interests of its stockholders, customers and employees”.

Goggin (66) subsequently told the banking inquiry in 2015 that the day of the bank guarantee was the “worst day of my life”. “The pressure, the stress, the issues I was trying to deal with, I mean it was incredibly stressful and traumatic.”

After the crash he was an adviser to Apollo Global Management from 2010 to 2015. He is also a director of the Irish Heart Foundation. His profile on the charity's website suggests he is a non-executive director of a number of Apollo's investment entities.

Richard Burrows, chairman of Bank of Ireland

Richard Burrows resigned as chairman of Bank of Ireland in June 2009. It wasn't long before the businessman (72) landed another top job, and the following November he was appointed chairman of British American Tobacco, a role he still holds today.

He is also chairman of Craven House Capital, an investment company, and a senior independent director of Rentokil Initial and a supervisory board member of Carlsberg.

The former chief executive of Irish Distillers was one of the ultimate survivors of the financial crash in Ireland, and last year received remuneration from British American Tobacco of £789,000.

Michael Fingleton, chief executive of Irish Nationwide Building Society

Michael Fingleton retired as chief executive of Irish Nationwide Building Society in April 2009, having joined the company in 1971.

While the end of his reign at Irish Nationwide was effectively the beginning of his retirement, Fingleton has seldom been out of the media.

The Central Bank decided to establish an inquiry into whether Fingleton and other Irish Nationwide executives were involved in alleged regulatory breaches between July 2006 and September 2008. Its establishment was delayed after Fingleton failed in a legal bid to stop it going ahead. The investigation is due to conclude at the end of 2019.

Michael Walsh, chairman of Irish Nationwide Building Society

Former UCD professor of banking Michael Walsh served as Irish Nationwide’s chairman from 2001 until he resigned suddenly in February 2009. The resignation came a day after Irish Nationwide saw its debt rating downgraded by Moody’s to within one level of junk status.

Walsh was also a director of a Dermot Desmond's International Investment and Underwriting Group up to 2011. He was also a non-executive director of a number of other Dermot Desmond companies, including London City Airport, Daon and Seer Partners.

In February this year Walsh was disqualified from managing any regulated financial service provider for three years after he admitted breaches of financial services law to the Central Bank. Walsh, who was also fined €20,000, entered the settlement in relation to breaches between August 1st, 2004, and September 30th, 2008.

Mark Duffy, chief executive of Bank of Scotland (Ireland)

After 17 years at the helm of Bank of Scotland (Ireland), Mark Duffy resigned in 2008, aged 51. However, the executive stayed with the bank until the beginning of 2009.

A media report earlier this year said Duffy was seeking backers for a new residential mortgage lending business in Ireland.

According to regulatory filings, Duffy is a director of a business called the European Asset Resolution Partners, which controls another of Duffy's companies – Loanbox – a banking alternative based in Germany. The Irish arm of Loanbox was dissolved at the end of 2016. Duffy also held directorships of a software consultancy – Duffy Analytics – until August 2015. A liquidator was appointed to that company in 2017.

Fergus Murphy, chief executive of EBS

Former Rabobank executive Fergus Murphy became chief executive of EBS in January 2008, just nine months before the government's bank guarantee. Murphy stayed with EBS for almost four years until the bank merged with AIB. He later said that had the bank avoided property lending, it would probably have made it through the crash.

In any event, after the merger Murphy joined AIB in a senior executive role and was subsequently runner-up to Bernard Byrne in the race to replace David Duffy as chief executive.

In 2016 Murphy joined the Clydesdale Bank in the UK as director of products before being appointed group customer value director in March 2017 of CYBG, under David Duffy.