Ireland’s most powerful politician and one of its wealthiest oligarchs were ringing the New York Stock Exchange bell on Ireland Day, the Monday after St Patrick’s Day.
This celebration conjoining Prime Minister Enda Kenny and billionaire Denis O’Brien was on prime time television news back in Dublin where I was contemplating the future of investigative journalism.
Last month, I won a landmark defamation case taken against me in the Irish High Court by Michael Lowry, a controversial former government minister, who is also a close friend both of the oligarch and the prime minister.
Billionaire Denis O’Brien made his pile from mobile phones via a license granted to his company 16 years ago by a government in which Lowry and Kenny were both ministers.
A judicial inquiry found that O’Brien gave nearly £stg 1 million to Lowry who secured the second mobile phone license for him.
Since then O’Brien has become the largest owner of media in Ireland – and sacked me from a radio station last November after complaining about my coverage of his business affairs.
O’Brien is also the largest shareholder in the Irish Independent where my expose about him and Lowry were published through the years – and now he is threatening to sue me personally.
The oligarch and media mogul also went to extreme lengths to hide political donations that he, and his companies, made to Fine Gael – the party led by his bell-ringing buddy in New York, Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
Drowning shamrocks seemed the only option watching this bizarre spectacle to commemorate St Patrick’s Day.