From Cavan to Kiev, the story of Seán Quinn that won’t be forgotten

In The News podcast: How a poor farmer became a billionaire, and lost almost everything

The story of Seán Quinn is remarkable by almost any measure. Born into a poor farming family on the Cavan-Fermanagh border, he turned away from farming the land and started quarrying it instead.

Quinn was mining rocks but he may as well have been mining gold and over four decades grew his fortune to become a multibillionaire and one of the richest men in the world.

Less than 15 years ago he had an estimated wealth of nearly €5 billion with a property portfolio spread across the world. Then he took an incredibly risky punt on Anglo Irish Bank at exactly the wrong time. He lost almost everything.

What followed was one of the most extraordinary courtroom battles ever seen in Ireland involving hearings in this country and across the world as the liquidators followed a complex money trail from Cavan to eastern Europe and India.


Quinn and his son were jailed for contempt of court and a dark cloud hung over the family and their financial dealings. Rallies were held in support of Seán Quinn.

Then the world mostly moved on.

It was only when a member of the Quinn extended family made contact with Google seeking to have stories and pictures from The Irish Times, the Irish Independent, the Irish Examiner and the Irish News removed from the search engine that the spotlight returned to the Quinn family.

Colm Keena has been covering the story for The Irish Times for more than a decade and he spoke to In The News about a story with almost as many twists and turns as all the roads in Cavan.

In The News is presented by Conor Pope and Sorcha Pollak.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast