Business Person of the Month

April 2011: John Bruton, chairman, IFSC Ireland

By Business & Finance
02 May 2011
John Bruton

John Bruton has been batting for Ireland at home and abroad in our darkest economic hour.


Former taoiseach John Bruton has been an outspoken and engaging voice on the issues facing the Irish economic, business and political sectors in the last month.

Business Person of the Month, Bruton, who was EU Ambassador to the United States and is now chairman of IFSC Ireland, has been representing Ireland both home and abroad during a difficult period for the country’s reputation.

EU responsibility

Speaking earlier this month, the former Fine Gael Taoiseach outlined his views that, while the main responsibility for Ireland’s current banking crisis lies with Irish institutions, that the ECB and other European institutions must take some of the responsibility for the position.

“I hope EU decision-makers will also see that the Irish banking problem has been influenced by the requirement of free movement of capital within Europe since 1990 and the deep interdependence that has created, with all its good and bad aspects,” he said, speaking at a Chartered Accountants Ireland briefing in Dublin.

Bank bondholders

Addressing the issue of bank bondholders earlier this month, Bruton warned against Ireland, as a country, breaking its word and not fulfilling its obligations in relation to the banks.

“As Irish people we should think once, twice, three times, a hundred times before breaking our word,” he said, answering questions after a lecture in the London School of Economics.

“We have got to be realistic. We have to recognise who we are. We depend on other people. We must not let them down, even though it is hard,” he said.

“Irish taxpayers, in taking on in 2008 the private liabilities of the Irish banks to other European banks, are now helping to stabilise the situation of European banks, and of the European banking system,” he said.

IFSC role

In May 2010, Bruton was appointed, on a part-time basis, to the position of chairman of IFSC Ireland, which represents a vital sector to the economy moving forward.

Speaking at the announcement of the position in May 2010, Bruton said: “The international financial services industry in this country has remained resilient throughout the global downturn and is continuing to act as a source of well-paid employment, particularly for young qualified graduates.”

“It is also the source of many further spin off jobs. This key group will be the mainstay of our economic recovery and I am particularly pleased to be asked to play a part in ensuring that we continue to generate new employment opportunities in the IFSC for our young peole.”

Highlighting the importance of the IFSC to the economy, he said, “The IFSC is a global centre of excellence in key areas of banking, fund administration, and insurance. It is a success story that we should be proud of. I hope to be able to put my experience overseas, previously in the public sector and now in the private sector, to use to promote the industry in a manner that maximises the employment benefits of the IFSC for Ireland.”


John Bruton was born in 1947 and graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and politics in 1968 before studying to become a barrister. He was called to the Bar of Ireland in 1972. He holds honorary degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland and the National University of Ireland. He is married to Finola Bruton and has four  adult children.

International diplomat

  • EU Ambassador to the United States since 2004.
  • Chairman of IFSC Ireland since May 2010, representing the vital area of the Financial Services as an area for inward investment.

Merc logoBusiness & Finance, Business Person of the Month

Business & Finance, in association with MERC Partners, has been awarding excellence in business through the ‘Business Person of the Month’ award over the last number of years. These awards seek to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and particularly those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland.