Miler Magrath was a Franciscan Priest, and Anglican Archbishop of Cashel in the 16th century. He was portrayed as a figure of hatred for both Protestant and Catholic historians, owing to his ambiguous and corrupt activities during the Reformation where “dissolved churches and lands became battlegrounds for profit and cultural hegemony“. On the Protestant side, he was blamed for financial corruptions and on the catholic side as a collaborator in the destruction of the church (and appropriation of church lands) by the new ruling class. He made a fortune by holding several Dioceses and up to 70 parishes, barely looking after each of them. However ironically for protestant colonists such as Edmund Spenser “the destruction of monk and lord – especially when portrayed as partial self-destruction – provided an attractive scenario for the eager newcomer who could express shock at their sins and yet happily inherit their land” as Spenser and other New English did in most cases. 
William Robinson was an architect and Surveyor General of Ireland who designed many notable buildings in Ireland in the 1600s, some of which include the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, St. Mary’s Church, Dublin and developmental works on Dublin Castle. Robinson was knighted and admitted to the Privy Council of Ireland, but during his time in Ireland he received so many official titles and amassed such a fortune that suspicions of corruption were rife, and served time in jail for it in 1710. This case is notable for being one of the first official cases of corruption in the colonial administration of Ireland.
In 1995, Denis O’Brien was head of one of six corporations looking for the lucrative second Irish mobile phone operator’s licence. When he was chosen to receive the license, there was major controversy as he was suspected of bribing Fine Gael government TD and Minister for Communications Michael Lowry. The license procurement, which ultimately made O’Brien one of the richest men in Ireland, was proven to be corrupt in an investigation by the Moriarty Tribunal, where it was proven that;
- O’Brien gave substantial sums of money to Fine Gael in order to make friends with people in the party.
- Denis O’Brien, or persons close to him, subsequently sought to give large amounts of money to Michael Lowry.
- Michael Lowry, in return, sought to be involved to a greater degree in the licensing process, seeking information about it on a number of occasions and influencing the decision and selection process in Esat’s favour.
Seán FitzPatrick was head of Anglo Irish Bank from 1986 until 2008, when he resigned after it emerged he had taken secret loans worth €155 million from the bank, hiding them from auditors for 8 years. He later defaulted on these loans due to the Global Recession and has since been unable to repay his debts, although he retired from his position with a pension of €4 million a year.
Michael Fingleton was chief executive of Irish Nationwide Building Society up until 2009, when he resigned due to the effects of the Irish banking crisis. Fingleton was responsible for arranging loans for politicians and other public figures, with some loans totalling over €10 million. Among those who received loans from Fingleton include; Charlie McCreevy, Don Lydon, Francis O’Brien and Celia Larkin who received a loan without requiring any proof of income.
Willie McAteer was chief executive and chief risk officer of Anglo Irish Bank up until January 2009 when he resigned. McAteer was arrested in 2012 in relation to a failed attempt to boost Anglo’s share price after a stock market collapse. He was responsible to giving unlawful financial assistance to a select group of businessmen to purchase shares after the bank’s value plummeted in 2008. At the time of the alleged incident, McAteer had the second largest number of shares in the bank, totalling 3.5 million.
Tax evaders (politicians)
Of the €45million Charlie Haughey was said to have amassed due to corrupt dealings, he made a deal with Revenue where he only paid €6.5million in back taxes and penalties in relation to what he called ‘undeclared political donations’. Haughey was not convicted for evading tax on his vast private income but was charged with obstructing the McCracken tribunal.
Mick Wallace, an independent politician from Wexford, was revealed in 2012 to have had knowingly made false declarations to the authorities regarding payment of VAT. In total his undeclared VAT liabilities totalled €2,133,708, but he stated that he believes that none of the money will ever be paid in full to Revenue because his company is insolvent and he is not personally liable. Mr. Wallace’s company went into receivership in November 2011 when his company was said to have owed over €19million to ACC Bank.
George Redmond, the former assistant city and county manager in Dublin, was revealed in 1999 to owe £500,000 to the Revenue Commission for unpaid taxes. In total it was claimed he had over 20 different bank accounts to hide corrupt payments. When interest and penalties are added in, he was said to have owed in excess of £2million.
In 2000 Denis Foley, a Fianna Fáil politician from Kerry North, was accused of having an offshore account to evade tax. He eventually was forced to pay €580,000 to the Revenue Commission to cover his undeclared income.
In 2005 Ray Burke became one of the most senior politicians to be jailed on criminal charges, after he was convicted of tax offences. It was revealed in the Mahon Tribunal that Mr. Burke had received over £200,000 corrupt payments and made incorrect tax returns on these. He received a 6-month sentence but only served 4½.
Michael Collins, a politician from Limerick, hit the headlines in 2003 when it was revealed that he had set up a bogus offshore account to evade paying tax. He settled the bill with the Revenue Commissioners, paying over €130,000 in taxes, interest and penalties. He was charged with cheating the Collector General and obtaining a tax clearance certificate by fake pretences by falsely claiming to be tax compliant.