O'Leary support of Quinn 'his own personal opinion'
RYANAIR DEPUTY chief executive Michael Cawley said yesterday he believed Seán Quinn was a loss to Ireland as an entrepreneur but if he was found to have broken the law he should be made to face the full rigours of the law.
Last weekend at a rally in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, in support of Mr Quinn and his family, a letter of support was read out from Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary, but yesterday Mr Cawley said he did not know if Mr O’Leary had sent such a letter of support.
“I’m not confirming or denying, I can’t – that’s for Michael to answer – but he certainly did not do anything on behalf of Ryanair . . . if you’re going to say I’m going to criticise my boss, that’s his own personal opinion, I never discussed the issue with him,” he said.
Mr Cawley said his own personal view was it was a very unfortunate situation for Mr Quinn and his family and he could well understand the huge level of support shown for him by people in the Border counties.
“If you go up there, where there’s no other employment, he’s employing thousands, it’s very understandable the way they feel. If you transplanted him down into west Cork or Kerry, people down there might be equally loyal and that’s perfectly understandable,” he said.
“Seán Quinn is iconic up there and you have to recognise that. Long before this happened, if you drove to Derrylin and you turned around the corner and saw this world-class facility in the middle of a bog up there, taking on CRH, the biggest company ever in Ireland, and beating them, you have to admire what he has done.”
But Mr Cawley added that Mr Quinn “fell over very badly and if anybody breaks the law they must face the rigour of the law”.
“It’s not for me to judge [if Mr Quinn broke the law], it’s up to a court to decide that.
“But I do understand people have a loyalty and have an association, and he had an insurance company which was equally good. I don’t know enough about the case but if somebody breaks the law, they must face the rigours of the law.”
Asked if he believed Mr Quinn was a loss to the world of business in Ireland, Mr Cawley replied: “I don’t know the man at all, but we are short of entrepreneurs in this country.”
Separately, Fr Brian D’Arcy defended his appearance at last Sunday’s rally.
During an interview on Northern Sound radio, he said: “I was there to support a man that had done so much for the area.
“He gave people a future here, the people stopped taking the boat, and he did help the peace process by giving people stability. I am not making a defence of Seán Quinn; he can do that himself.”
Fr D’Arcy said he was away for the past few days working for the BBC, mostly in Austria, and was returning there yesterday, but was aware of the media criticism he had received in his absence.
“So they say ‘Ballyconnell is no place for a priest’. It is a strange thing to say. I have to disagree with that entirely. Ballyconnell was not a riot, it was to support a family in need and recognise a family in need, and to recognise that they have made great mistakes and in another sense recognising they have done great good as well, most of which is not recognised in places apart from Ballyconnell.”
He continued: “So no place for a priest?
“Well, funny enough, 43 years ago that’s what was said about me when I attended the first civil rights march in Enniskillen.”