Mapping the Golden Circle

That a small clique dominated the board rooms of both major private and state enter­prises during the Celtic Tiger years is a now a proven fact thanks to exhaustive research by progressive think tank Tasc. 

In the report “Mapping the Golden Circle”, TASC has revealed the extent of the network across 40 of Ireland’s top private companies and state-owned bodies in the period 2005 to 2007. It also uncovers the massive dispro­portionate pay raises top executives at these companies paid themselves in the final years of the ‘boom.’

The 40 companies studied in this report are household names and include Bord Gais, the Central Bank, AIB, Smurfit, Anglo Irish Bank, Ryanair and Aer Lingus. The total number of directors involved in managing these companies was 572.

In the period 2005-2007, a network of 39 people (among them the infamous former boss of Anglo Irish bank Sean Fitzpatrick) held positions in 33 of the 40 top private companies and state-owned bodies. Between them, these 39 are referred to as the Director Network in TASC’s report held a total of 93 directorships in the forty enterprises.

TASC director and co-author of the report Paula Clancy said; “It is vital for the future that the public interest be rigorously safe­guarded in state-owned bodies and private companies which play key roles in the Irish economy. This can only be achieved by strengthening the rules and regulations gov­erning how business is conducted.”

Mapping the Golden Circle is perhaps the most important investigation yet into the go­ings on during the Celtic Tiger years and can be downloaded in full at