Online campaign says it does not condone sabotage or vandalism

CIC welcomes withdrawal from deals by two firms for parts of former Quinn Group

A group styling itself Concerned Irish Citizens (CIC) produces a steady stream of online commentary that is the direct opposite to what the Aventas management says is happening within the former Quinn Group.

The CIC postings increase the concern that exists for those trying to stabilise and grow the business. For instance, a post on April 22nd, in the wake of attacks on Quinn Packaging and the Lagan Group, welcomed the support from local county councils for the campaign against the “piecemeal sale” of Aventas assets.

“However, there is continued dissatisfaction with the deafening silence by some of the managers, promoted by Seán Quinn and still in positions of responsibility. Why aren’t [name removed] and [name removed] coming out and demanding that Glass is returned to a local consortium?”

Three other employees are then named and, the post continues: “Some others who were there with the former managers should be men enough to stand up to [Aventas chief executive Paul] O’Brien and his lieutenants and tell them that enough destruction has been done. Instead they kow tow to their dear leader.”


The post welcomes the withdrawal from proposed deals by the Ceva and Lagan groups. Both groups say the withdrawals were the result of campaigns of sabotage.

O’Brien, the post reads, “hasn’t been very successful with the demise of Ceva and Lagan proposals and no company of repute will come into an area where they are clearly unwelcome”. O’Brien, whose home in Co Meath was subjected to an arson attack in 2011, is the target for repeated abuse in the CIC postings.

Potential bidders
The chair of the CIC is Maureen Martin, a Sinn Féin candidate in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, in the coming local elections. Efforts to contact her yesterday were unsuccessful.

The secretary of the CIC, Patricia Gilheany, told The Irish Times this week that she never met the Quinns prior to the collapse of the family empire. She said she has no party affiliation and that the CIC's objective is to protect jobs in the area. She runs the CIC operation from her home.

She rejected the contention that commentary by the CIC is inflammatory and threatening in the context of ongoing attacks. “We are not making threats. We do not condone any sabotage or vandalism. We want peace returned to our community.”

In a later email, Gilheany said the CIC in no way condoned “any acts of vandalism, sabotage or anything that would endanger either jobs or personal safety.

Seán Quinn and his team never had any security or never had a need for [it] for almost four decades, including through the darkest days of the Troubles”.

Gilheany said local people want the bid for the Aventas Group from QBRC Ltd, the recently formed company whose directors include some senior managers from the Quinn family era, to be successful.

There is no suggestion intended that Gilheany has any knowledge as to who is carrying out the campaign of sabotage against the Aventas plants, nor indeed that anyone in the Quinn family or in QBRC does.

The campaign has served to scare away two businesses that wanted to take over parts of the former Quinn Group which the CIC and QBRC want retained as a unit. The attacks have served to damage the value of the group at a time when QBRC says it is ready to make a bid, and may have convinced other potential bidders to stay away, giving QBRC a clear field.

Quinn has admitted engaging in an effort to put a foreign property portfolio worth hundreds of millions of euro beyond the reach of Anglo, which had a legal claim over it. Substantial amounts of rent from some of this property remains unaccounted for.

Festival address
He has repeatedly condemned the attacks on the Aventas businesses, but a number of local sources said they believe he could use his considerable influence to bring greater pressure on the saboteurs. Again there is no intention to imply Quinn knows anything about who is behind the attacks.

In an address at the Ballinamore Family Festival on August 10th, 2013, Quinn said he did not like mentioning names, but he and his family wanted to thank Gilheany for her support over the previous three years, during which she had put in “50 to 60 hours a week”.

He did not complain about criminal attacks on the former Quinn Group, of which there had been 53 at the time of the opening.

The address can be seen on Vimeo (77201963).