Gallagher, Patrick (1951–2006), businessman, was born on 8 May 1951 in Holles Street hospital, Dublin, the second son of Matt Gallagher, businessman, and his wife Helena Patricia (née Sheeran). He was raised from 1957 in palatial surrounds at Hollywood Rath, Mulhuddart, Co. Dublin. The emigrant son of a Sligo smallholder, Matt had risen from modest circumstances to become Ireland's leading housebuilder and one of the most powerful men in the country. Patrick was the heir apparent, as his older brother was mentally disabled. Although his father could be bad-tempered and bullying, Patrick idolised him and was desperate to prove himself a worthy successor. Gangly, shy and bespectacled, he had a difficult adolescence and attended a number of secondary schools, including St Gerard's in Bray, Co. Wicklow; Clongowes Wood College in Co. Kildare; and Blackrock College in Co. Dublin. In adulthood, he compensated for his teenage frailties by developing a brash and extroverted persona.
He joined the Gallagher Group aged 17 and gained experience in every aspect of the family business, starting as a tea boy and serving as plasterer, plumber and bricklayer. In 1970 he married Sue Craigie, whose family controlled the Premier Dairies group. They had two sons, and from 1973 lived on the Gallagher's Mulhuddart estate at Ballymacarney House. He ascended rapidly up the Gallagher Group hierarchy, becoming head of house sales in 1971, a role he enjoyed and at which he excelled, particularly as business boomed in the early 1970s. The 1973 property crash put a stop to that, and the attendant stresses precipitated his father's untimely death in January 1974.
Patrick inherited a large homebuilding group, a builder's providers company, two small banks, a stud farm, a shopping centre, and a building society. More importantly, he acceded to an unrivalled network of political and business connections, including his father's old drinking companion Charles J. Haughey (1925–2006), who acted as a surrogate father figure, as did another of Matt's friends, the property developer John Byrne.
Gallagher's inheritance was not subject to estate tax, thanks to the transfer of assets to various Cayman Islands trusts; otherwise, the stricken Gallagher Group was at the mercy of its bankers. His failure was widely anticipated, but he acted decisively by laying off workers and selling much of the dearly purchased land bank for whatever price he could get. Although interest rates were high, inflation was higher still, and with property regarded as a hedge against inflation, it was in the banks' interests to be patient, particularly given that an excess of forced land sales by the Gallagher Group would devastate the market. In March 1975 he demonstrated he was fully in control of the Gallagher Group by reconstituting its board, appointing a number of directors aged, like him, in their mid twenties.
Disregarding his father's (admittedly hypocritical) warnings against drinking, he embraced a frenetic, sybaritic lifestyle, frequenting Dublin's most exclusive bars, nightclubs and restaurants, attired in loud suits and chomping on an oversized cigar. He fancied himself as a raconteur and participated enthusiastically in impromptu singing sessions. Constantly on the move, being ferried around Dublin in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce (his first purchase on taking over the Gallagher Group), he was at pains to emphasise how hard he worked, but took extended holidays and alternated between bouts of dissipation and bursts of activity. He conducted business as an extension of his socialising, meeting various groups in hotel bars and negotiating several unrelated deals simultaneously, hopping from table to table, on each of which he would have a drink. A 1977 cancer scare seems to have intensified his penchant for fast living and risk-taking.
His unconventionality also manifested itself in the management of his two banks, Merchant Banking Ltd and Merchant Banking (Northern Ireland) Ltd. Both had a longstanding policy of investing almost all their funds in Gallagher Group companies, a matter of concern to the regulatory authorities in both Ireland and the UK. Under pressure from the Central Bank of Ireland, from 1977 Gallagher reduced Merchant Banking's activities considerably, but it continued to lend to the Gallagher Group and maintained an office in Donaghmede shopping centre, which attracted small deposits from shoppers.
Moreover, Merchant Banking (Northern Ireland) doubled its deposit base to £1.19 million during 1977–8, and in April 1978 its ownership was transferred from Merchant Banking to another Gallagher company, liberating it from the Central Bank's oversight and enabling it to continue lending to the Gallagher Group. The Bank of England expressed concern at the manner in which Merchant Banking (Northern Ireland) was administered and repeatedly issued warnings. Gallagher also enjoyed effective control over a small but fast-growing building society, the O'Connell Benefit, where Gallagher family interests comprised four of the seven seats on the board. Whenever he needed to plug a gap, he directed the O'Connell Benefit to place amounts ranging from £250,000 to £500,000 on deposit in Merchant Banking.
Amid the depths of the 1974–6 recession, he participated in a more widespread builders' migration upmarket, disposing of large greenfield sites just beyond the city intended for low-cost housing, and replenishing them with smaller sites adjoining prestigious, well-established estates and suburbs. Whereas his father had built semi-detached homes for the upwardly mobile working classes, Patrick turned to groups more likely to weather the economic downturn, particularly professionals and public-sector workers. To cater for this market segment, he built more spacious and luxurious residences – typically bungalows with large gardens, located in relatively small estates with a less uniform appearance – and also adopted the fashionable neo-Georgian motif. Sales were abetted by the farcically laudatory coverage afforded to his housing developments (and those of other leading developers) in the property pages of both the Irish Independent and the Irish Times. The property editor of the Irish Independent subsequently admitted to receiving money from Gallagher in return for a favourable press.
At this time, small builders enjoyed certain advantages over large concerns such as Gallagher's, particularly a greater facility for employing black-market labour, but were liable to be hamstrung by the ever-increasing length and complexity of the planning application process and by a lack of financing. Gallagher devised a new strategy that enabled him to play a determining and highly profitable role in reviving the homebuilding sector. He bought sites, secured planning permission and then disposed of the land in parcels to small builders, to whom he offered finance from Merchant Banking, and a phased payment system with much of the money being demanded only when house sales were completed; he also provided architectural and marketing services, and undertook the development of estate amenities such as roads and parks. By 1977 the Gallagher Group had run down its construction activities to become a property speculation vehicle that controlled and directed housebuilding without actually carrying it out.
Gallagher thrived off his ability to obtain planning permission for sites, despite opposition from local community groups. At least one leading planner, George Redmond, long-time head of planning for Dublin Corporation, was a regular recipient of payments and paid holidays from the Gallagher Group. Although he was primarily a Fianna Fáil supporter and donor, Gallagher's influence transcended party boundaries: the day before he lost the right of final appeal for planning to An Bord Pleanála in March 1977, the Labour Party minister for local government, James Tully (qv), granted the Gallagher Group permission for 500 houses at Malahide, over the vociferous opposition of local residents. Thereafter, An Bord Pleanála proved similarly accommodating.
Increasingly, Gallagher treated the planning process with flagrant disregard, and habitually directed his contractors to begin building in advance of his formally securing planning permission; his developments also routinely flouted conditions imposed by planners. Once the houses were built, he reneged on promises to provide open spaces, put down footpaths, and landscape his estates, leaving such provision to the local authority. In numerous instances, the council refused to take over estates until Gallagher finished them properly; residents then suffered in the ensuing impasse. Adding insult to injury, residents who were denied promised estate services and amenities were obliged to pay a ground rent to the Gallagher Group. This period bore witness to widespread public opposition to ground rents, and the Gallagher Group became infamous for its willingness to proceed against and ultimately jail homeowners for non-payment of minor sums.
By delegating construction work and the attendant cash flow stresses, Gallagher freed up capital. A lucrative 1976 investment in Rohan Ltd, whereby much of the £500,000 funding he injected into the struggling building group was immediately recycled back to the Gallagher Group in the form of land purchases, whetted his appetite for speculative gains obtained through creative forms of collusion between industry insiders. In the late 1970s, he plunged boldly into office development, prompted by the election in 1977 of a supportive Fianna Fáil administration, which dramatically expanded the public sector, thus stimulating a surge in demand for modern offices to accommodate state bodies. Conveniently, the government declined to build its own offices, preferring to lease such facilities from favoured developers, and suspended a capital levy on office developments. Gallagher was ideally positioned to negotiate the array of political and regulatory obstacles to urban development projects and guarantee highly favourable long-term government leases, thereby facilitating the sale of his developments to financial institutions, who bought more on the strength of a property's tenancies than on its intrinsic worth.
Concentrating on prime locations in the Dublin 2 postal district, and with a particular emphasis on the St Stephen's Green area, he littered the city with ugly, intrusive office blocks (which admittedly met a pressing need for modern work space), levelling a number of historic buildings in the process. In overcoming fierce resistance from preservationists, he demonstrated tenacity, ingenuity and ruthlessness, as well as a callous indifference to Dublin's architectural heritage. He was assisted by indulgent planning officials, who were under political pressure to facilitate the recovery of the commercial property market, and by the fact that preservationists were overly focused on preserving Georgian architecture and ignored many fine Victorian buildings. His architect Desmond Fitzgerald (qv) bombarded planners with applications, submitting vague, barely comprehensible designs and tweaking them slightly for resubmission after they were rejected. Buildings owned by Gallagher with a view to development were exposed to the elements and liable to be damaged in suspicious accidents.
Most notoriously, in 1978 Gallagher swept away a varied ensemble of Georgian and Victorian structures along Dawson Street and Molesworth Street, including two distinguished Victorian buildings: St Ann's School and Molesworth Hall, both Gothic revival constructions of the 1850s designed by Ireland's foremost nineteenth-century architects, Thomas Newenham Deane (qv) and Benjamin Woodward (qv). As the demolition proceeded, architectural students occupied St Ann's School. Gallagher halted operations before calling a press conference and announcing that he would have to lay off 300 construction workers across the city. Immediately, construction workers began a counter-demonstration outside the school. Armed with a high court injunction against the squatters, Gallagher had them forcibly evicted from the premises. The injunction had been obtained on the grounds that the building was liable to collapse, but it proved sturdy enough to withstand Gallagher's bulldozers and was reduced painstakingly by hand tools. In its stead he raised a monolithic office block, which he sold to a pension fund for a profit of two to three million pounds.
Between 1976 and 1982, he spent some £45 million, rapidly turning over properties and realising stupendous profits. At times he appeared to be overstretched but had a knack for closing a big sale when he needed cash. Most strikingly, seven months after acquiring the long unoccupied Sean Lemass House (formerly St Vincent's Hospital) on St Stephen's Green for £5 million, he sold it to the Irish Permanent Building Society for £7.5 million in December 1979, having paid just the £500,000 deposit on the initial purchase. The Irish Permanent's chief executive, known to be friendly with Gallagher, subsequently denied allegations that he had been bribed to pay over the odds.
Such coups persuaded the banks to back him to the hilt in his speculative endeavours. The Northern Bank Finance Corporation (NBFC), one of whose executives sat on the board of the Gallagher Group's holding company, was particularly enthusiastic and ultimately breached Central Bank rules by lending over 5 per cent of its total advances to Gallagher. With this support, he froze his rivals out of the market, being prepared to pay considerably above the going rate for sites. In return, the seller settled for a miniscule deposit up front, and allowed a lengthy interval in which to pay the balance. In relation to residential sites, these terms enabled him to entice builders to take the land off him by offering similarly generous payment schedules. Regarding commercial developments, it gave him leeway to resolve planning problems, find tenants and buyers, and sell the property (sometimes without even developing it) before much of the purchase payment fell due; it also helped that building contractors for such developments were prepared to wait for payment. Accordingly, he was able to carry a heavy debt burden on a comparatively small cash flow.
Gallagher, however, was not always as shrewd as he imagined himself to be: in 1980 he bought 6/7 St Stephen's Green for £1.5 million, twice what he had originally bid, without realising that the auctioneer who had brokered the transaction secretly held a one-third interest in the property in question. But there was plenty of graft to go around and Gallagher's profligacy singlehandedly drove the market upwards: an achievement contingent on an unsustainable government policy of debased Keynesianism. Gallagher was a critic of monetarism, and his repeated claims to be a socialist perhaps reflected a mocking acknowledgement of the extent to which his amoral, venturesome capitalism flourished within the niches of planning regulations and on the strength of a bureaucracy-driven bubble.
His success represented to a significant extent a return on his longstanding investment in Fianna Fáil and particularly in Haughey. As Haughey clawed his way back into political prominence during the mid 1970s, Gallagher provided him with some £2,000 to £3,000 each year for his political expenses and the free use of Gallagher Group company cars for cultivating Fianna Fáil activists the length and breadth of Ireland. In 1976, Merchant Banking advanced a £2,500 loan and a £6,000 loan to companies controlled by Haughey so that his daughter could buy a house. (Merchant Banking was often used to gift cash to Gallagher's family members and clients, in the form of loans that were not expected to be repaid.)
When Haughey was elected taoiseach in December 1979, Gallagher was the only non-politician at his side for his first press conference. The next day, Haughey informed Gallagher that he owed over £1 million to AIB and requested £750,000 towards settling this debt. Gallagher agreed to pay £300,000. In order to conceal the true nature of this transaction, a land sale agreement was signed describing the £300,000 as a non-refundable deposit for land Haughey was to sell to the Gallagher Group within five years, but there was no intention that this sale would occur.
Financial inducements aside, Gallagher bonded with Haughey during their regular lunches together at the Berkeley Court Hotel, over their mutual passion for horses. Gallagher invested £4 million in the lucrative but high-risk bloodstock market, participating in the prestigious Coolmore racing and breeding syndicate headed by Vincent O'Brien (1917–2009), John Magnier and Robert Sangster. In 1978 he suffered a disastrous experience when he spent £750,000 on a quarter stake in the Coolmore-syndicated and O'Brien-trained champion juvenile Try My Best. A strong ante-post favourite for the English 2,000 Guineas, the horse trailed in last, in one of the most spectacular flops in post-war racing. Gallagher immediately sold all but £50,000 worth of his interest, registering a £200,000 loss. In 1980 he bought the ailing Phoenix Park racecourse in partnership with Magnier and O'Brien, and proceeded with its redevelopment to make it commercially viable. This highly uncertain project was dear to O'Brien's heart and provides an example of Gallagher's foolhardy partiality for grand undertakings designed to win the respect of older business figures.
As his triumphs mounted, he engaged in increasingly lavish expenditure. He spent £200,000 on improving Ballymacarney House, before buying Straffan House and its 300-acre estate (later the K Club) in Co. Kildare for £1 million in 1979 and lavishing another million pounds over three years on renovating it. By contrast, he conspicuously failed to devote his financial resources towards completing a philanthropic project commenced by his father, the construction of a new art gallery and headquarters for the RHA. Gallagher halted work on the site in 1975 and, despite his repeated assurances that resumption was imminent, left it as a half-completed concrete hulk which he used as a storage yard for his other construction projects.
Although he rarely gave interviews, he gained considerable notoriety, and in spring 1982 appeared on the front cover of In Dublin magazine under the byline: 'Patrick Gallagher: property speculator and brat'. His enemies were not restricted to left-wing and bien-pensant circles. Many within the comparatively venerable business community resented his youthful arrogance, while his brazenness infuriated the more circumspect property professionals and developers, who feared he would provoke a government clampdown on their lucrative activities.
From 1980 the economy faltered under the burden of high real interest rates, which meant that for the first time his properties were not rising in value over and above the interest accruals on his debts. Far from exercising caution, he committed himself to a number of ambitious and ill-starred ventures, ignoring the warnings of many of his friends, Haughey included. He responded to the weakness in the upper end of the housing market by acquiring a 330-acre site at Fortunestown for low-cost housing, but failed to find any builders willing to take it off him. Desiring an improved cash flow, he built an upmarket shopping centre, the Galleria, on St Stephen's Green, and began the aforementioned Phoenix Park racecourse redevelopment. The Galleria opened at an inopportune time and struggled to attract tenants, while the racecourse ran over budget (consuming £2 million during 1981–2).
He had proceeded with the Phoenix Park project against the wishes of his bankers, who were alarmed by the size of his debts and infuriated by his presumption; possibly he believed he could emulate Haughey in keeping the banks at bay through stonewalling and bluster. As his finances deteriorated, he grew increasingly reliant on cash infusions from the O'Connell Benefit, demanding larger sums and taking longer to give it back. In late 1981, he lost control of the building society when his request for £1 million was defeated after one of his handpicked directors voted against the proposal. Merbro (as Merchant Banking (Northern Ireland) had been renamed), then transferred substantial sums to its sister bank in Dublin, eventually causing the Bank of England to revoke its licence in March 1982.
Nonetheless, Gallagher was confident of retrieving the situation thanks to his ownership of the largest commercial property site in Dublin: the 4.5-acre Slazenger site (later the St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre). He had acquired this derelict site for £50,000 in cash having agreed to take on the previous owner's £10 million debts. In 1981 the Irish Life Assurance company indicated it was willing to pay £16 million for the Slazenger site if Gallagher could resolve its remaining planning and lease difficulties. Wrongly convinced that he had a binding legal commitment from Irish Life, in January 1982 he bought the 4-acre Earlsfort site on the other side of St Stephen's Green for £9.5 million with the intention of selling it to a British institution, which had approached him regarding the Slazenger property.
Attempts to develop the Slazenger site had been stymied by conditions attached to pre-existing leases; although Gallagher made progress in resolving these issues, one tenant, a cinema proprietor, proved obdurate and was in a strong legal position. Irish Life would only buy with a guarantee of vacant possession of the entire site and backed out, disregarding his empty threat of legal action. Worse still, the British institution he had lined up for the Earlsfort site demurred in the light of a supreme court judgment of February 1982 casting doubt on the validity of the Earlsfort property's planning permission. The institutions also took fright at the worsening political and economic climate. The financially exhausted state could no longer afford to underpin the office-leasing market, while public opinion had forced the government to introduce stricter regulations and taxes on property development; one government minister admitted that these laws were designed with Gallagher in mind.
Belatedly realising he was on the brink of ruin, Gallagher nearly bought more time by acquiring the cash-rich H. Williams supermarket chain for £4.5 million, but a rival bidder adopted a spoiling role and delayed matters long enough for the owners to realize that Gallagher might well go under before they had been fully paid. The deal unravelled. Despite frantic last-ditch efforts involving the disposal of personal assets and a proposal by Magnier to sell the Phoenix Park racecourse to a syndicate, the banks failed to agree to a restructuring of Gallagher's debts, which were by then accumulating £100,000 in interest charges every week. Arguably, his demise can be depicted as representing a rupture, caused mainly by a divergence of interests arising from economic pressures, in an uneasy alliance of convenience between the disreputable Haughey business nexus and Dublin's outwardly respectable financial professional elites, and as such an important moment in the unravelling of Haughey's chaotic 1982 administration. The Department of the Taoiseach's denial of any intervention by Haughey in this matter does not seem credible.
On 29 April 1982, the Gallagher Group was put into receivership owing £30 million to the banks (mainly Bank of Ireland, AIB and NBFC) and £20 million to smaller creditors. A defiantly unrepentant Gallagher blamed the bankers for acting precipitously and claimed his assets were worth £60 million, more than double their true £26 million value. Having long viewed his lifestyle and business practices with a mixture of envy and distaste, the financial establishment reacted to his bankruptcy with barely suppressed glee, but Gallagher's invocation of a pinstriped conspiracy against him cannot be taken seriously. The banks had indulged him for too long and at the expense of more productive enterprises. He had given personal guarantees for much of his companies' debts and was stripped of Straffan House (into which he had moved three weeks before going bankrupt), the Dolanstown stud farm, horseflesh worth £2 million, and his Rolls-Royce; his brother Paul was obliged to forfeit Castle Howard, a Gothic edifice in Co. Wicklow, and his mother had to vacate her residence in Dolanstown House. For about a year Gallagher assisted the receiver, concentrating on appeasing the banks to the detriment of his unsecured creditors.
The fallout from his bankruptcy was considerable. The Dublin property market was moribund for almost the rest of the decade with prices being depressed by the Gallagher Groups' 1,000-acre land bank, which was not fully disposed of until 1990. Many of his smaller creditors went under. About forty homebuilders who had paid deposits to Gallagher for sites were left in limbo for months (as were the prospective homeowners who had put down a deposit on a house) before their legal title to the property in question was resolved. Furthermore, many Gallagher Group estates were not properly completed or serviced at the time of the group's demise. Gallagher had lodged bonds of £1 million with various local authorities as security for so doing, but, having been issued by Merchant Banking (see below), the bonds were worthless. After prolonged haggling, the receiver paid £300,000 of the £1 million due.
Although the O'Connell Benefit emerged relatively unscathed, Merchant Banking and Merbro were bankrupted and immediately liquidated, having lent some 80 per cent of their assets to the Gallagher Group. The 446 savers at Merbro had deposited £3.5 million sterling in total, the 590 savers at Merchant Banking IR£1.3 million. While Merbro depositors recovered £1.5 million sterling from a British government compensation fund, those of Merchant Banking received no state support and salvaged almost nothing from the liquidation. Many savers with the two banks were poor and elderly.
Compiled in 1984, the liquidator's report found that Merchant Banking paid out some £250,000 in fictitious loans to Gallagher family members and associates, and that the bank lost £2.9 million in complicated inter-group property transfers for the benefit of other Gallagher companies and ultimately of the large banks, all at the expense of depositors. The day before the receiver took over, the deeds of the Galleria Centre, which had been in the hands of Merchant Banking, were given to Bank of Ireland to help secure its loans. On foot of the liquidator's report, which identified seventy-nine possible criminal offences, the Garda fraud squad investigated the activities of Merchant Banking, but progress was slow.
From 1983 Gallagher attempted in partnership with his brother Paul to resurrect his career as a developer, and secured the support of some small banks thanks to the willingness of a group of business friends – including Byrne, Tony O'Reilly and P. V. Doyle (qv), and his uncle Charles Gallagher – to pay for his living expenses, including his sons' school fees, and guarantee his loans to the tune of £500,000. In 1984 he relocated to London where he bought flats for refurbishment and resale. The Gallagher siblings lived in relatively modest residences, but were fixtures at London's more select nightclubs and at Irish embassy functions. By 1987 Gallagher could afford to buy Balsoon House on thirty-one acres at Bective, Co. Meath, for £250,000, and spent the weekends there.
In March 1988 British police arrested him in London on fraud charges arising from a two-year investigation into the management of Merbro Ltd. He was bailed, but in November 1989 pleaded guilty in Belfast crown court to charges of providing false accounts to the Bank of England alleging that Merbro had £2 million on deposit with Merchant Banking Ltd (when in fact it was indebted to Merchant Banking) and to stealing £100,000 from Merbro Ltd. The court postponed sentencing because he agreed to pay compensation to depositors, immediately lodging £500,000 sterling; he was given eleven months to raise another £500,000 sterling. Unable to meet the eleven-month deadline, he was sentenced to two-years' imprisonment in October 1990, being imprisoned briefly in the Crumlin Road jail in Belfast and then in more comfortable circumstances in the Magilligan prison, Co. Londonderry, until his release in October 1991.
In 1989 an RTÉ exposé on Gallagher was cancelled at the last minute owing to government pressure and threats of litigation. When broadcast a year later, references to Merchant Banking having advanced loans to Haughey were dropped. Meanwhile, the Irish fraud squad submitted a report to the director of public prosecutions (DPP) in June 1990 that recommended Gallagher's prosecution for fraud relating to the management of Merchant Banking Ltd, highlighting six breaches of the Companies Act and three of the Central Bank Act. The DPP decided against a prosecution. Undoubtedly powerful interested parties appreciated Gallagher's abandonment of a plan to publish memoirs illuminating his relationships with politicians and business figures. The Merchant Banking depositors pursued him in a high court civil action for repayment of £1.3 million in lost deposits. This case was settled in 1996 when Gallagher agreed to pay an undisclosed sum.
After being released from prison, he separated from his wife and moved to Zimbabwe, where he bought a farm and was involved in an abandoned scheme to settle Afrikaner farmers. Basing himself thereafter in South Africa, he pursued with little apparent success various investments in assorted African countries. Periodically he returned to Ireland where he regaled sceptical and increasingly bored listeners with far-fetched stories of how he was on the cusp of clinching a deal that would restore his fortune, enabling him to repay the money he owed to Merchant Banking depositors and embark on a further series of follies, including the construction of a 'Charles Haughey Memorial Hospital'.
Following the public exposure of Haughey's venality, Gallagher divulged details of his financial patronage of the former taoiseach in an interview in 1998 and again before the Moriarty tribunal in 1999, but denied receiving any favours in return, and continued to praise and remain on good terms with Haughey. This renewed prominence gave him a media platform from which to hold forth on past glories. His reminiscences are of interest but are highly unreliable, being self-justificatory and vainglorious to the point of delusion; he once attributed his downfall to the machinations of the Orange order. He never seemed embittered, and claimed that his troubles enabled him to develop an appreciation for religion and poetry, but he struck many as a diminished and slightly bewildered man. Moreover, he suffered from a drink problem and bad health, though wealthy friends continued to cover his medical expenses.
Latterly he divided his time between Cape Town, where he wintered, and Dublin. After an illness he died in Dublin on 15 March 2006 and was buried at Three-Mile-Water cemetery, Co. Wicklow. He had suffered from a recurrence of cancer, but the exact cause of his death is uncertain. He was survived by his former wife, and by his partner Yvonne D'Arcy.