'I feel very sorry for the Quinn family'
THE LOCAL people in the home base of Seán Quinn and his family are backing the man who created jobs for them and their families in a deprived region.
Walking the streets of Ballyconnell on Saturday and visiting the village of Derrylin across the Border in Fermanagh beside the myriad companies he founded, there is anger at what locals perceive as the bankers not being made accountable for their actions.
Locals also say the area would have been a wasteland.
They fear that the empire built by Quinn may disintegrate in time. further compounding the economic woes of the area.
Dublin native living in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan of the Molly Maguire pub in Ballyconnell
“Here’s a businessman who has done everything for this community. He was great with the GAA club and gave them land. All of the politicians got their picture taken with him when things were going good but not one of them from the Cavan-Monaghan area has stuck beside him.
“Why isn’t the original financial regulator, Pádraic Neary, being brought before the Dáil and questioned? Why haven’t the five TDs for Cavan-Monaghan been called for this? It is disgraceful that they’re being sent to jail but what they did was wrong.
“They only did it because the Government moved in on them like the Mafia and took all his businesses off him when he went to Dublin to negotiate. They are holding Seán and the son to ransom and are using his family against him. He’s a man of the people. He wore an open shirt and he went to the GAA matches. He supported the local community and everybody looked to him for sponsorship.
“He sponsored the Lady of the Erne competition when Irish Distillers pulled out. That man did more for charity in this area than you would not believe.
“The Cavan people should have risen up more. I’m a Dublin man and I think he should have gotten more support from his own community. In Fermanagh he has great support – it doesn’t matter if they are Protestant or Catholic, they’re behind him because of the jobs he brought to the area.
“Only for him, this area would be nothing. Lisnaskea, across the Border [in Co Fermanagh] had nothing and he brought jobs. People laughed at him when he went to build the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell but look at it now and the amount of people it employs.
“He no longer owns it but it wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for him; it would have been a field. The man has never said he didn’t want to pay back the money. Why could they not have worked with him? He shouldn’t get jail; he should get a medal for all he has done for the area.”
Derrylin, Co Fermanagh
“I think it’s an absolute disaster what has happened and that his son is in jail. It is an outrage. He has done so much for this area and in Fermanagh, Meath, Cork and Dublin.
“Members of my family have worked for the Quinns and continue to do so but they wouldn’t have the same heart going into it now. Once you did a job for Quinn you were guaranteed your money and he was good to work for.
“It’s an awful pity there wasn’t a dozen more employers like him in this country.”
Newtowngore, Co Leitrim
“I think it is terrible what has happened to the Quinn family. It’s just not right. It shouldn’t have come to this. Seán Quinn jnr could spend a long time in jail and I think it’s very unfair. I worked myself for him in the Slieve Russell Hotel.