Released Quinn returns home to big welcome
Local people in the Cavan-Fermanagh region, the home of Seán Quinn, expressed delight at his release from prison yesterday. He returned home to Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, after his release from the training unit of Mountjoy Prison yesterday at about 9am.
The bankrupt billionaire businessman had served his nine-week sentence for contempt-of-court orders handed down by Judge Elizabeth Dunne, which had been put in place to stop Quinn assets in the €500 million International Property Group from being put beyond the reach of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo Irish Bank).
As he travelled home Mr Quinn was met with a large sign erected on a northern-registered JCB in Virginia welcoming him home.
Fr Gerry Comiskey, parish priest of the Quinn family, said: “Without a doubt, along with the vast majority of Cavan and Fermanagh, I welcome his release from incarceration in Mountjoy.”
Mr Quinn was jailed on November 2nd but was granted temporary release from prison for three days – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day. He attended the christening of his granddaughter on St Stephen’s Day and was returned to custody on December 27th to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Patricia Gilheany of Concerned Irish Citizens, one of the main groups behind the support rallies for Mr Quinn, said there was a “sense of relief” that he had been released.
“However, the battle is far from over and it needs to be brought to an end. Emigration is now on a par with what it was in the famine.
“It beggars belief that someone who was the biggest job creator in the country is not being allowed to participate in the recovery of the country,” she said. “In the next general election, members of the Quinn family are likely to run for election in a bid to create jobs,” Ms Gilheany added.
Fr Comiskey said everyone in the locality was quietly delighted that he has been released. “They just found it incredulous that he was imprisoned and they keep repeating that he should have been very far down on the list of people that should have been incarcerated because of the frightful situation that we find ourselves in.
“It’s great that he’s at home and he’s looking forward to some quality time with his family in the days ahead. He will have a short rest before he gets busy preparing for what he described as the ‘big case’ in 2013,” he said. “He’s very encouraged about the legal advice that he has been getting.”
Quinn on his term
Speaking to the BBC last night, Seán Quinn described his nine-week spell in Mountjoy Prison for contempt of court as having given him perspective on aspects of his life. “I’m used to the rough and tumble from the first period of my life – it was different in the last 10-20 years – but I could settle into most environments and fit in,” he said.
“But of course when you find the door slamming at nine o’clock – and you close for the night – it’s not nice and it’s not something I was used to and it’s not something I felt I deserved.
“I wouldn’t call it frightening but it was certainly something that would make you think.
“It made me think that despite what has happened to me over the past four or five years from the Anglo debacle, I feel happy that I have a good wife and a good family and that I can come home to a warm environment and a warm community.
“From that point of view, I felt lucky in some respects.”