Quinn 'traumatised' after jailing
Jailed businessman Seán Quinn was traumatised but defiant after he began his nine-week prison sentence for contempt of court orders on Friday, his parish priest has said.
Fr Gerry Comiskey, who visited Quinn (66) in the Mountjoy training unit prison that evening, said it was a “harrowing experience” to see a parishioner in such a situation.
“[Quinn] had just been taken across the city in a Garda van and had just gone through the whole process of incarceration, so he was greatly traumatised,” Fr Comiskey told RTÉ Radio’s Marian Finucane programme.
“You know his age, that’s a factor, his health is also a factor. He was a traumatised man. He was emotional. He had all sorts of feelings. He was angry, surely, but beneath all that there was a certain defiance that we have all come to know is part of his make-up,” he added.
Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said “in my view, he has only himself to blame” as she handed down the sentence on Friday.
Quinn had earlier spoken about how the High Court proceedings, involving the former Anglo Irish Bank - now Irish Banking Resolution Corporation, had negatively consumed his life and that of his family.
Seán Quinn jnr was recently released from the Mountjoy training unit having served a three month sentence for contempt of court orders.
The bank claims it is owed €2.8 billion by the Quinns, who dispute the figure.
“They put me in jail, my son in jail, for the dissipating of assets of companies the family owned and that the bank had never loaned a penny to,” Quinn snr said after the sentence was handed down.
Fr Comiskey, of Drumlane Parish in Cavan, said Quinn was aware he might be jailed but that nothing could have “quite prepared” him for the experience.
He said that watching the former billionaire make the trip across the city in a Garda van was “incredible” viewing and making the journey must have been an “incredulous” experience for Quinn.
Asked if Quinn had a cell to himself in Mountjoy, Fr Comiskey said that was a matter for the Irish Prison Service. He said he listened to what Quinn had to say during the visit but they did not pray together.
He urged people from the Cavan and Fermanagh areas and supporters of the Quinn family to think long and hard about their actions following the jailing. There was “a great deal of unease here on both sides of the border”.
“What I am concerned about is the almost palpable anger in Cavan and Fermanagh now,” Fr Comiskey said.
“Naturally I’d like to say to the workers and concerned citizens to think long and hard and not to be short sighted in any respect. It’ll be important for everybody who is talking about this and making decisions not to do anything that would jeopardise the jobs, the welfare or the wellbeing of the workers.”