Drumm too dull to understand what he was part of and too thick to feel pain of others’ suffering

The Anglo Irish Bank boss was inflated by people’s need to believe in his magic money

David Drumm is too small, too trite, to bear the weight of tragic meaning. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

David Drumm is too small, too trite, to bear the weight of tragic meaning. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Literary reputations are fragile things, but David Drumm’s place in the annals of Irish fiction seems secure. The €7.2 billion in phoney deposits with which he inflated the accounts of Anglo Irish Bank a decade ago is invention on an epic scale.

It did what the most ambitious novelists do. It created a parallel universe that had the feel of reality, a storybook world of success stories for investors, shareholders and regulators. It was a carnival merry-go-round of funny money made to look like a golden carriage drawn by thoroughbreds. The sheer scale and effrontery of the illusion are undeniably impressive.

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