Search icon


28th Jun 2018

Dublin businessman Cathal O’Connell describes having 4 buses ‘torched’ in Northern Ireland

Tony Cuddihy

Cathal O'Connell

Cathal O’Connell describes the difficulties of operating his Paddywagon Tours business in Northern Ireland in the early 2000s.

Cathal O’Connell has revealed the difficulties he faced in bringing his Paddywagon Tour buses into Northern Ireland at the turn of the millennium, and a call he received in the middle of the night to tell him that two of his coaches had been set on fire in Belfast.

Speaking to host Tadhg Enright on The Architects of Business, in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, the company’s Founder explained how he had to change his company’s branding in the North in order to cater for all sides of the community.

“In the early days, going up the North was a bit of a challenge with the leprechaun on a green bus,” he revealed. “It didn’t represent both sides of the community and I paid dearly; I had four buses torched up there.

“So I then decided to paint two of them orange.”

He then described the moment he found out two of his buses were on fire.

“It was a little bit scary in the year 2000 when you get a call in the middle of the night from the media in Belfast, the Belfast Telegraph, to see how was I going to react to the fact that two of my coaches were ablaze in the middle of the city?

“It was scary and I had to deal with some of the elements up there. In Belfast now we deal with one side of the community with the black taxis and the extra-curriculars and in Derry we deal with the other side,” the 2009 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Finalist added.

Listen to the full clip here from 17:40

The Architects of Business, brought to you in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ , is available every Monday morning on iTunes, SoundCloud and YouTube