Property magnate and renowned bon viveur Johnny Ronan commands widespread coverage across news and business pages in all the broadsheets as his debts – personal and corporate – are laid bare under the Nama process.
Described by The Sunday Times as “the worst nightmare” for Nama, the Tipperary-born entrepreneur’s high-flying social life is the stuff of tabloid legend; a pin-up boy for the excesses of the Celtic Tiger era. His antics are not the kind of penitent, hairshirt image Nama would prefer its beneficiaries to display.
“There was the tiff outside a pub in the posh Dublin suburb of Ranelagh with his ex-girlfriend, the model Glenda Gilson. Then there was an impromptu trip to a five-star resort in Marrakesh, Morocco, with the former Miss World Rosanna Davison.”
Worth an estimated €400m personally at the height of the boom, Ronan is now going cap in hand to Nama to keep his companies Real Estate Opportunities (REO) and Treasury Holdings afloat. Nama is trying to get back €815m lent by banks originally for property development to Treasury Holdings and a further €1 billion lent to REO.
Ronan has now returned to manage the company after taking time off for “reflection” after the now infamous ‘Rumble in Ranelagh’ and the subsequent trip with Davison hit the headlines in March. The Nama executives, mindful of the sensitivity of handing large wads of taxpayer dosh to lads used to living high on the hog, will be hoping the break has given him time to reflect on the need for a more low-key lifestyle.