The Johnny Ronan coronavirus videos show an Ireland that never went away
Jennifer O’Connell: The footage is unsettling when juxtaposed with closure of Bewley’s
Developer Johnny Ronan said he was entirely unaware of the threat of coronavirus at the time the videos were recorded. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Johnny Ronan was known in some media organisations during the Celtic Tiger as ‘the buccaneer’. It suited him, from his sheriff of Nottingham hair, to his €640,000 Maybach, to the swagger with which he conducted some of his personal relationships – on one occasion, sending a press release to the newsdesk of TV3 to announce the ending of his relationship with TV3 presenter Glenda Gilson.
Ronan has cut a quieter figure in recent years, as he rebuilt his empire and personal wealth after the crash, to the point where he now says he has seven million square feet of projects in the development pipeline. But despite the sycophantic ‘He’s back!’ headline that greeted his emergence from the National Asset Management Agency in 2015 with all of his debts repaid, he wasn’t really back – at least not at his previous levels of ‘Let’s fly to Morocco for dinner, Rosanna’ ostentation.