Sean Quinn: We are 'devastated' over son's jailing

Published: 26 Jul 2012 13:080 comments

FORMER Fermanagh businessman Sean Quinn has told The Impartial Reporter that he and his wife Patricia are 'devastated' at the jailing of their only son, Sean junior last week.

Sean Quinn Junior is led away to begin his prison sentence in Mountjoy jail.

The 33-year-old was jailed for three months for breaking court orders not to interfere with the Quinn family's €500m international property portfolio while his one-time billionaire father avoided prison - for now.

His cousin Peter Darragh Quinn, former head of the family's International Property Group (IPG), was also jailed for three months but did not turn up in court. A bench warrant for his arrest remains in place.

"We have not seen him [Sean junior] since Friday, however his wife Karen and sisters have visited him and he is fine. Sean was imprisoned for failing to comply with a court order. He had done everything within his power over the preceding weeks to comply with the court order, but some of the orders were impossible to comply with, and you simply cannot put smoke back into a bottle," he said.

The former quarry tycoon entered Dublin's High Court with his son by his side and the threat of jail looming.

He left on his own following lengthy court proceedings some hours later.

Mr. Quinn, whose name has been synonymous in these parts with wealth and success for an entire generation made the long journey home to Fermanagh alone while Sean junior, who got married just two months ago, was placed in the back of a prison van by Gardai headed for Mountjoy Prison, a world away from the charmed life he was once accustomed to.

In an interview with The Impartial Reporter this week, Mr. Quinn, still hurting from Friday's court case, spoke of his anger towards the former Anglo Irish Bank, now Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, which he still refers to by its original name.

"My wife and children brought proceedings against Anglo last year. Anglo advanced money to their companies and them personally without their knowledge to prop up Anglo Irish Bank. The current management of Anglo have never stood up and acknowledged the wrongdoing that was done to my family, instead they launched a massive PR campaign and vendetta against me to cover up the gross fraud in the bank and to protect the parties involved," he claimed.

The developments last week follow years of court battles, claims and counter-claims in a saga that has divided Ireland both North and South and left a once media shy Sean Quinn fighting for his family's future like never before.

"Whether it takes three months or three years the truth always prevails, and whilst I in no way condone some of my behaviour over the last 17 months, I can at least explain it. I look forward in the coming years to hear the explanations and excuses of the past and present Anglo management," he added, in reference to the arrests this week of former Anglo executives.

Mr. Quinn says the arrests "confirm" his theory that something untoward had gone on at the bank.

"It confirms what me, my wife and my children have been saying; that the lending practices at the bank were fraudulent, that the loans are illegal and Anglo cannot  recover illegal loans".

He continued: "It was a sad day for the local community and Irish taxpayer, when Anglo management refused to stand up like men, admit the mistakes of their predecessors, and work with the family to find a resolution".

The battle that ensued between IBRC and the Quinns was like no other in Irish history, leaving the once high-flying businessman filing for bankruptcy on both sides of the Border and his family doing all they could to survive.

"Anglo tried to cover up their wrongdoings, accept no blame, and embark on a path of job destruction, and devastation to communities who deserved better. They destroyed profitable companies and forced my family into a full scale battle to protect themselves and their homes," he said.

Given that Mr. Quinn spent his life creating thousands of jobs in the county and a huge empire in his native Derrylin it is no surprise that the people of this area are continuing to stand by their man.

While it's something of a different story in the Republic it is almost impossible to find more than a handful of people here who aren't supportive of the once Mighty Quinn, something the Quinns are taking great comfort from.

Take the Teemore Shamrocks, for example, the family's beloved GAA club who released a statement this week calling on the community to support its former players, Sean junior and Peter.

"We encourage our fellow Gaels, sports people, community people, and those who have crossed paths with members of the Quinn family in the past, to realise the injustice inflicted on the Quinn Family. We urge you to support the family who has contributed so much to our communities both locally and nationally, because we must all stand together against their unreasonable and outrageous treatment."

Even Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has come out to defend the family, telling this newspaper that what has happened to Mr. Quinn was "wrong".

"He has been treated disgracefully by the Irish Government. Had they not tried to strip him off all his assets, including his home, deny him the ability to function in business, and routinely try to humiliate him I believe he would have paid back every penny he owed to the Irish taxpayer.

"He accepted he had done wrong, but all our attempts to make the government show some comment sense were ignored. He is being punished for having the audacity to 'buy the bank; and for being an ordinary man from Fermanagh who is hugely respected by his community," she said.

The support hasn't gone unnoticed by the Quinns who say they will be "forever grateful" to everyone in both Fermanagh and Cavan "who have stood by us as they have been doing for nearly 40 years now".

Mr. Quinn says the support has only intensified since the jailing of his son last week.

He added: "Both myself and Patricia have been overwhelmed by the letters, messages and comfort shown to us. We wish to thank our friends, our business associates, everyone who has supported us in any way  for what they have done for us and continue to do. It is this support that is seeing us through these most difficult times".

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