Seán Quinn jnr claims administrator feared firing him

Employment Appeals Tribunal reserves judgment

Seán Quinn jnr (35) claims he was unfairly dismissed by Quinn Insurance and is entitled to two year’s gross pay. The company disputes the claim. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Seán Quinn jnr has said one of the administrators appointed to Quinn Insurance in 2010, Michael McAteer, took a year to fire him because he was afraid of the consequences.

Mr McAteer and Paul McCann, both of Grant Thornton, were appointed administrators on the application of the Central Bank on March 30th, 2010.

Mr Quinn (35) claims he was unfairly dismissed by Quinn Insurance and is entitled to two year’s gross pay as compensation. The company disputes the claim and says he is not entitled to compensation. Judgment has been reserved.

Administrator’s fear

The Employment Appeals Tribunal heard that Mr Quinn was told he was being let go in June 2011. Mr Quinn said he believed Mr McAteer delayed getting rid of him because he was afraid of the consequences.


“I think he was scared to make the decision,” he said. “He wasn’t flavour of the month with the employees.” Sacking him could have “destabilised” the company, Mr Quinn said.

Conor Power SC, for Quinn Insurance, said Mr Quinn was let go because his job no longer existed and that if there had been “de-Quinning going on”, he would have been let go much earlier.

Mr Quinn told his barrister, Ercus Stewart SC, that during an April 2010 meeting with Mr McAteer he was asked not to any longer attend the senior management meetings and it was recommended that he, Mr Quinn, apply for redundancy.

“I felt I was being victimised and singled out,” Mr Quinn said. He asked for a reason why he should not attend any more meetings, but was not given one. He said he told Mr McAteer he would not apply for redundancy and that it was his and his family’s intention to become involved in the company again as shareholders. “He said that was highly unlikely.”

The tribunal heard Mr Quinn was on the board of Quinn Insurance and had a salary of €75,000 a year, had an entitlement to an annual bonus of 40 per cent (which he did not collect), and was also in line for a director’s bonus of €200,000 after five years.

He was a 20 per cent shareholder in the Quinn Group, which was seized by Anglo Irish Bank in April 2011.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent