Priest calls for calm following detention
Seán Quinn snr’s parish priest, Fr Gerry Comiskey, has called for calm in the Cavan-Fermanagh region following the businessman’s imprisonment.
“I notice there is a palpable anger on both sides of the Border and would like to add my voice to the others who have been calling on people to control their anger and not to do anything that would jeopardise the jobs or livelihoods of the hundreds of people dependent on income from the Quinn Group,” said Fr Comiskey.
The priest said he paid a visit to Seán Quinn snr in Mountjoy Prison on Friday evening.
“Obviously it was very traumatic for him but he was able to read the signs on Thursday and was very much of the view he would be incarcerated. Nevertheless, when it happened it was a huge trauma for him. The whole drama of being brought across the city in a Garda van with lights and sirens blaring left him quite emotional until I got to the prison.
“I assured his family he was okay but he was still traumatised by the events of the day. He was emotional but has great inner strength and I think he’ll be able to call on that strength in the days ahead and I think will bear up reasonably well.”
Mr Quinn was sentenced to nine weeks in prison on Friday and is due to be released on January 4th, 2013.
“It’s a particularly cruel feature of the sentence [that it straddles Christmas] and we would hope that perhaps he might get some compassionate leave and he would get out. Naturally he was concerned for his family and was quite distraught that he would have to leave them for nine weeks.”
Fr Comiskey said he planned to visit him again today. Mr Quinn is entitled to “a couple of family visits and there are special arrangements for priests to make visits to parishioners, so I’ll be free to visit him any time I choose to be in Dublin,” he said.
“My principal role is to listen to him and to assure him of the concern for him in his locality. I principally listen to his fears and anxieties. He will take much consolation that there is great sympathy and concern for him in Cavan and Fermanagh.
“He’s lucky in that his immediate family are close-knit and his extended family are loyal and supportive to him.”