Wind farm workers received death threats, says councillor

Six staff at firm once owned by ex-billionaire Seán Quinn ‘shocked’ at intimidation

 Seán Quinn: has “always condemned and will continue to condemn all negative activity in the local area”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Seán Quinn: has “always condemned and will continue to condemn all negative activity in the local area”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Six men working at a wind farm previously owned by discharged bankrupt former billionaire Seán Quinn have received death threats, a leading Cavan Sinn Féin councillor has said.

“I have had about half a dozen workers come to me, concerned, frightened, after receiving threats,” Damien Brady said.

“They are shocked and horrified that these threats would be aimed at them for just doing their work.

“They are trying to earn a crust, put food on the table. They have nothing to do with what is going on, they just work at the wind farm.

“They are angry, and the general public is angry too.”

Saying that locals are now “angry that this has started again”, Mr Brady said the community had believed “that we would be in settled times” after a local consortium had taken the helm at the company in 2014.

The management team, led by Mr Quinn’s former deputy, Liam McCaffrey, were funded by three US hedge funds, Contrarian, Silver Point and Brigade Capital.

In an email last month to local management, the funds insisted that Mr Quinn actively condemn the campaign of intimidation that has been under way in Cavan and Fermanagh.

Quinn statement

In Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, one employee at Quinn Industrial Holdings spoke of workers being “up in arms” over the ongoing situation: “There will be jobs lost over this, that’s the truth,” he said.

A series of attacks and vandalism on factories, homes and wind turbines has prompted cross-Border investigations by the Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

As the hostility continues, a rift between Mr Quinn and the senior management team, including Mr McCaffrey, is growing.

The email from the US hedge funds to Mr McCaffrey and colleagues called on Mr Quinn to “rectify” his relationship with local management and “take an active approach, demonstrable over time” against “increasingly negative activity” if he was “to become bankable in the finance community again”.

In the statement, Mr Quinn’s family said: “Seán has a good working relationship with the US Investor Group and all discussions between those parties are private and confidential.

“Seán has no comment to make on the management team, save to say that he has drawn the US Investor Group’s attention to matters that he believes need to be addressed to protect the Quinn Group and the jobs that it provides to the local community.”

It emerged earlier this week that Mr Quinn’s wish is to regain control of the companies he once owned despite the US hedge funds making it clear in an email to management that they have “no appetite for Seán’s role expanding beyond the advisory relationship already in place”.

“If Quinn was back in charge in the morning people would be happy enough. They would like to see him back where he was before,” said a worker.

“But there are lot of people wanting the management that is there at the minute to keep going – they are doing a good job.

“We have mortgages to pay and the sooner all this carry on stops, the better.”