After watching almost four hours of absorbing, fascinating television documentary on RTE last week, do you feel any sympathy for Sean Quinn?

Unlikely for most, I think, although even the question is a little more loaded and complicated than first appears and there are many people who will forever feel supportive of the man who brought jobs and prosperity to an isolated region along the Fermanagh-Cavan Border which Bryan Gallagher eloquently described as the mountain where the lights had gone out.

It’s difficult for the outsider to fully grasp the enormity of what Quinn initially did for the area and its people, which explains why there was such a show of support for him when trouble first hit.

Public rallies and demonstrations of support were inspired by a combination of personal loyalty, fear for employment and the danger of a slide back into poverty; and also a resentment that the D4 establishment was “shafting” the man and the area.

People along the Border, whether north or south or whatever side of the religious/political divide, share a common belief that we are a forgotten people, that the authorities in Dublin, Belfast and Westminster ignore us and even look down their noses at us.

That would explain the remarkable reaction of anger towards Alan Dukes for his contributions to 'Quinn Country', the excellent Fine Point Films three-part documentary on RTE last week; as much as his dismissal of people along the Border “having violence in their blood”, the sneering attitude of the former Fine Gael leader charged with taking the lead in solving the crisis for the State merely confirmed everything we believed about the Dublin establishment.

Sunday Independent columnist, Declan Lynch suggested that there was a comparison between Dukes and Quinn, who were similar in how highly they regard themselves.

I think he has a point. With a major difference, though. Dukes came across as a charmless, arrogant twerp with little thought for the ordinary Border folk who, he suggested condescendingly, had been foolish enough to misdirect their loyalty.

Whereas, there were times when Quinn’s avuncular local grounding gave us a glimpse of how he was able to be “one of us” to his thousands of employees even when becoming filthy rich. The amounts of money, whether profits made or lost, were eyewatering.

Conversely, however, those very confident ebullient qualities also produced a swagger which merely confirmed to his critics that Quinn’s trouble was that he wouldn’t listen and was never going to see the error of his ways as he dug himself deeper into a hole.

The image of a 22-year-old gaelic footballing leader who became a hero when his Teemore team won the Fermanagh championship under him loomed large throughout his life. He referred to himself as the “captain” of his company.

The references to Teemore warning opposition players that “the first man to cross the 14-yard line gets his leg broke” were indicative of a steely determination to blur lines to succeed, in sport and in life.

And the images of Quinn playing cards for 50p but suggesting that being second was no good, was another powerful indicator.

So in the documentary, the other side of Quinn’s character also came through; his stubborn egostistical nature, his lack of empathy and even a spitefulness towards those who didn’t follow his dictates.

Even now, after his interviews dominated the programme, Quinn has withdrawn his support for the documentary, insisting his side of the story hasn’t been told.

Quinn has repeatedly denied any involvement in the brutal attack on his erstwhile loyal lieutenant Kevin Lunney, but the lack of empathy towards him and the anger directed towards the parish priest were indicators of how former friends would become enemies if they crossed the 14-yard line.

It was Quinn who was front and centre of this series, directed and written brilliantly by Trevor Birney, once of this parish. I thought it a measure of the success of the series that even though the people of this area have lived through the story for some years, Birney’s telling of its various old and new elements had us fascinated.

I recall writing a column about the Quinn story a while ago in which I said there was more to the story than meets the eye, and indeed Birney’s account revealed that with a detailed insight into some of the dealings which produced the empire’s downfall and the transfer of the business into new hands.

A number of Ireland’s top journalists who had followed the Quinn story closely provided valuable insight.

The story itself is remarkable. Quinn, the “dunce” who wouldn’t sit the 11-plus builds a business empire worth billions, bringing prosperity to the middle of nowhere; and at the height of his success blows it all by gambling on shares.

But there are so many more layers to the story; the effects on the southern economy and insurance industry, hence the anger from the south. The refusal by Quinn to accept certain solutions.

Then there was the descent into campaigns of intimidation and the damage caused amounting to millions, and the brutal attack on Kevin Lunney which was a turning point in the whole saga. A crossing of the Rubicon.

So back to the original question of sympathy for Sean Quinn. It’s not simple.

At the heart of it, there is a human story and a family story; a man who did so much for his own people, yet blew it all. But while he lives in a mansion and Dukes hinted that the family still has personal wealth somewhere, it remains difficult, if not impossible, to feel sorry for him.

What is clear is that there are people in the area who will remain Quinn loyalists for the rest of their days, and there are others who are furious with him.

From the outset of the controversy, people were divided and it’s no wonder that even after last week’s programme many locals simply wanted to keep silent. For their part, Kevin Lunney and Liam McCaffrey decided not to take part in the programme.

Local people who just wanted to make a living have been in the eye of the storm; good people who were called “peasants” by one journalist and were again maligned by Alan Dukes last week.

The documentary 'Quinn Country' is on RTE player. As detailed as it is, any television documentary can only include so much, and Trevor Birney has said that there were so many elements of the story that he could have spent a further hour on each of them. So, he has now released a book which delves further into it.

'Quinn', published by Merrion Press, will be launched at Waterstones new bookshop in the Erneside Shopping Centre in Enniskillen this Friday evening.