Thousands support Quinn at Cavan rally


THOUSANDS ROARED in support of the “mighty Quinn” on his home patch as the man who created thousands of jobs climbed on to a stage in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, last night.

One supporter said if he was from “D4” rather than Teemore (a nearby townland), Seán Quinn would be treated differently by authorities now pursuing him.

As it stands, Mr Quinn’s son Seán is in Mountjoy Prison for contempt of court, while his nephew Peter Darragh Quinn is wanted by authorities in the Republic, also for contempt.

An emotional Mr Quinn told the crowd, estimated at up to 4,000 people, that his family had one million customers on the island of Ireland and had wonderful community support for nearly 40 years. He thanked his wife Patricia, his brother Peter, his four daughters and his son for their “unwavering support”.

The Quinns would “continue to be the Quinns and stand by each other”, he said.

Several speakers from the GAA fraternity and elsewhere gave speeches in support of the family. There was thunderous applause when a hand-written letter of support from Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary was read out from the stage, prompting a renewed waving of banners that variously read: “Let the Quinn case go to Brussels”; “No justice in Ireland; and “Trial of injustice by media”.

Fr Brian D’Arcy told the crowd that we have a “duty to stand by our neighbours when they’re in trouble”. He said Seán Quinn and his family had “brought prosperity and jobs to the area from stony rocks”.

“In doing so, he brought peace to the country by creating thousands of jobs and this removed the oxygen for violence,” he said.

Former Armagh player and All-Ireland-winning captain Jarlath Burns said the GAA community wanted justice for the Quinns.

Former Armagh football manager Joe Kernan called for justice to be done and “let Seán Quinn build another empire”.

Mr Quinn’s eldest daughter, Colette, said in her speech she was very grateful for all the support shown to the family over the past two years.

Her father, wiping tears from his eyes with a handkerchief, told the crowd from the stage: “It might be a bit emotional for me this evening speaking in my home town.”

He continued: “Since March 2010, when Quinn was put into receivership, the support has been outstanding. A propaganda war has been waged against Quinn for the past 28 months.

“A story has been told that is not a true story. We hope that the intelligent people will understand the difference.

“One special guest that knows all about justice, or lack of it, is Mickey Harte. I think he and he and his family came through it with dignity and we hope we can come through it with half the dignity that he did,” he added.

Michaela McAreavey, Mr Harte’s daughter, was murdered in Mauritius last year. Two men accused of her murder were recently acquitted of the charge.