Treatment of Quinns 'stinks': Border area rally to support family
PEOPLE IN the Border area believe the treatment of the Quinn family over recent years “stinks to high heaven”, according to Patricia Gilheany, of the Quinn family support group, Concerned Irish Citizens.
It is difficult, she says, for people outside the area to understand the level of annoyance that exists.
“Anger is too soft a word. There is strong civil unrest in these counties … I don’t want to see any trouble but there is anger and fear around the Border counties that is far worse than in the days of the Troubles.”
A rally in support of the Quinns is being organised by the group in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, on Sunday, October 14th.
An earlier rally in July was attended by up to 4,000 people, including GAA personalities Mickey Harte and Colm O’Rourke.
Ms Gilheany, a former public servant who lives in Co Leitrim, said she never had any dealings with the Quinns until she grew concerned with what was happening between the Quinn Group and Anglo Irish Bank.
She said she met members of the family, including Sean Quinn senior, who, she said, answered all the questions she put to him about the matter. “I believed him.”
She says the family accepts it owes the bank €445 million but disputes a further €2.3 billion which the bank says it owes.
The family says this money was linked to the controversial effort by the bank in 2008 to support its own share price using its own money.
Despite holding this position, she says, Mr Quinn came up with a plan whereby all of the money would be paid back over a seven-year period from the operations of the Quinn Group. “That offer was thrown back in his face.”
She said that when the bank was told in September 2007 by Sean Quinn senior that he had a large share investment in the bank by way of contracts for difference, he wanted out.
“But the Anglo people said ‘you need to put on the green jersey. If the bank fails, the country fails.’”
She said they urged Mr Quinn not to put the shares on the market, and instead instigated the share price support scheme.
Asked about the fact that the High Court had found that Sean Quinn, his son Sean junior, and his nephew Peter Darragh Quinn were guilty of an “outrageous” contempt of a High Court order, Ms Gilheany said she would “fight back” if people tried to take her house on the back of a debt they claimed but had not established.
The family’s claim that the €2.3 billion claim was unlawful should be heard before any other actions, she said.
The public address system in the GAA grounds in Enniskillen was used recently during a county final to advertise the upcoming rally in Ballyconnell, a development that has been criticised by some in the organisation.
Ms Gilheany said it was difficult for “outsiders” to understand the support for the Quinns that existed in the Border area.
“Sean Quinn looked after this area with jobs when no one in government did.”