Alex Massie

Billionaire Actually Sweetie Shop Owner...

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I'm sure that there's a Deep and Significant Meaning to this that helps explain something about the Irish economic landscape these past dozen years. It's like an episode from An Irish Onion or something.:

A “BILLIONAIRE” businessman linked with a string of high-profile potential investments has been identified as a sweet-shop owner based in rural Co Kilkenny.

Stuart Pearson (25), a native of Co Wicklow, lives in a rented house in the village of Goresbridge and operates the shop at a rented premises in the nearby town of Graiguenamanagh.

Over the past year, there have been claims in national and regional media that he was the head of a major investment company which sought to acquire a 30 per cent stake in Aer Lingus; was approached by SR Technics to invest “€25 million” in the troubled avionics company; and had offered “€450 million” to acquire failed Northern Ireland property company Taggart Holdings.

This is also good stuff:

At a take-away restaurant on Barrack Street, Chrissie Travers said Mr Pearson was a “fierce nice chap” but “if someone told me he was a billionaire, I’d drop dead or give him an extra bag of chips”.

She said he often called in “on the way home from work” and ordered the “quarter-pounder meal deal” – which at €6.70 includes “a can” – but sometimes “he goes for the chicken curry” (at €5.80).

Ms Travers said she had “never heard a helicopter taking off”.

No, I guess not. Then again, it seems that the Irish Times was not averse to regurgitating claims that Mr Pearson had made €800m from the sale f his New York property portfolio...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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