The Big Bang set to hit Cookstown

Pictured at the Big Bang to Tomlinson event are Conor Devine, James Gibbons (GDP), Lawrence Tomlinson and Nick Leeson.
Pictured at the Big Bang to Tomlinson event are Conor Devine, James Gibbons (GDP), Lawrence Tomlinson and Nick Leeson.

THE explosive Big Bang to Tomlinson event which is due in Cookstown on Tuesday, February 4, enjoyed a capacity crowd at the MAC in Belfaston Wednesday night.

Critic of the banks, Lawrence Tomlinson raised allegations that Ulster Bank’s parent company RBS deliberately bankrupted viable businesses for its own gain.

The Yorkshire businessman, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, told the Belfast audience that Ulster Bank was included in his report, commissioned by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Also speaking at the GDP-organised event was the infamous once time ‘rogue trader’ Nick Leeson, whose own risk-taking caused the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995. He is now part of the firm headed by Cookstown man Conor Devine and business partner James Gibbons, which specialises in bringing solutions to banks on behalf of borrowers.

Mr Tomlinson said he was delighted that Belfast is leading the way by talking openly about debt and how in some cases banks are mismanaging it.

“Post-crash and bailout banks needed to address their debt position, but killing off viable business was never part of the agreed plan when the UK government bailed the banks out.

“The Tomlinson Report has highlighted that some of the banks’ strategies for improving their financial performances are impacting on good and viable businesses and that they are manipulating the businesses’ financial positions for their own gain,” he said.

Mr Leeson who works at the Dublin office of GDP, said he hoped that the evening has encouraged people to take another and detailed look at their finances and consider the options.

“One of the biggest issues facing us all today is debt – whether that’s the banks, our companies or indeed our own as individuals.

“Unfortunately too many people don’t realise that bankruptcy is not the only option available to them and at GDP we are working with a vast range of people to mediate on their behalf and reach an agreement that works for both the institutions and the borrowers,” he added.

And Mr Devine said this is about starting a conversation across Northern Ireland about debt and around banks and banking policy.

“We need to educate people about the steps which can be taken to tackle their debt in an active and positive manner,” he added.

The ‘Big Bang To Tomlinson: ethical or criminal?’ event is geared towards businesses in Mid-Ulster and will give an insight into banking policy and debt. It will also help empower individuals and business owners to take control of their finances.

To register for the FREE event at the Burnavon on Tuesday, February 4 at 7:30pm, email It is essential that places are booked.