- 16 May 18
Declan Lynch talks about the incredible true story of Carlow postman Tony O’Reilly, whose gambling addiction resulted in him stealing €1.75m from An Post while he was a branch manager in Gorey.
Although one of the non-fiction books of the year, Tony 10 has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood drama. It tells the extraordinary story of Carlow postman Tony O’Reilly, whose gambling addiction resulted in losses so massive he ended up stealing €1.75m from his branch in Gorey. There are details from the story so bizarre they could only have come from real life: having fled from the post office upon the arrival of a team of auditors, O’Reilly drove to Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland – where his first act was to have another bet, the only activity that would calm him.
The gripping story serves as a cautionary tale about an age where, thanks to internet betting and the pervasiveness of betting advertising, gambling addiction is a clear and present danger to many people – and particularly young men. O’Reilly co-wrote the book with Sunday Independent journalist Declan Lynch, who in the early chapters writes about small psychological indicators in O’Reilly’s youth that might point to his eventual fate.
Alternatively, it could be that O’Reilly – who at the time his gambling addiction took hold had all the outward appearances of a normal, enjoyable life – was simply a regular guy, which makes the story even more unnerving.