Quinn describes prison as 'tough'


Bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn has said his nine week spell in Mountjoy Prison for contempt of court was a "tough" experience which he didn't feel he deserved.

Mr Quinn (66) was released from the Mountjoy Prison training unit in Dublin shortly before 9am this morning.

“I’m used to the rough and tumble from the first period of my life – it was different in the last ten to twenty years – but I could fit into most environments and fit in,” he told the BBC in an interview this evening.

“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,” he added.

Mr Quinn was jailed on November 2nd after a High Court judge ruled that his contempt of court orders, restraining stripping of multimillion assets from his family’s international property group, was so serious and outrageous that she must jail him.

When handing down the sentence, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said “in my view, he has only himself to blame”.

The Quinn family has been involved in a lengthy legal battle with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, which claims it is owed €2.8 billion by the Quinns as a result of borrowings from the former Anglo Irish Bank.

The family dispute the figure, but there is an agreement they owe some €455 million.

Seán Quinn jnr last year served a three month sentence at the Mountjoy Prison training unit for contempt of court orders. Mr Quinn's nephew Peter Darragh Quinn was given the same sentence but has left the jurisdiction and not since returned.

Mr Quinn, a former billionaire, had recently been granted temporary release for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day on compassionate grounds. Factors cited were his age, previous good character, his behaviour while in custody and the long-term health difficulties of both himself and his wife Patricia.

He was reported to have been in jovial form following the Christening of his granddaughter at Staghall Church near Belturbet, Co Cavan on St Stephen’s Day before returning to Mountjoy.

On Mr Quinn’s return to prison last week, family friend Fr Gerry Comiskey said: “He’s not a bit worried, he knows it’s almost over . . . He’s extremely grateful to everyone for their support.”

Fr Comiskey said Mr Quinn had been inundated with correspondence from supporters during his stint in prison. “He has been able to spend a lot of time in prison reading and reflecting. Getting all the letters has strengthened his resolve,” he said.