"THE PROPERTY developer Bernard McNamara, believed up to recently to be one of the wealthiest people in the State, is 'no longer a person of significant net worth,' the High Court was told yesterday."

Think about that paragraph from The Irish Times for a second - one of the richest men in Ireland, a billionaire by any standards for over a decade, is suddenly broke .

It reinforced what a leading financial figure in Ireland had told me recently: 'Six of the 10 richest men in Ireland are completely broke," he said. McNamara was obviously one of them.

McNamara was in the property business in the same way Coca Cola are in the soft drinks business. You could not go anywhere in Ireland without running into a McNamara building site sign. He was the local Trump without the ego.

I met him on a few occasions and must say he seemed a decent man who had given to many charities from what I heard and was well liked by his peers.

But now he is broke, very likely deep in negative equity.

He has many companions on whatever the opposite of the gravy train is - try the broom train as in one clean sweep they have all been wiped out .

It is hard winter in Ireland, the weather is cruel and the economy is still faltering.
The Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is battling cancer which just might be an image for the country at large.

For his sake and the country's lets hope he is successful.