Hamill’s Beat - The empire that Seán built

From Derrylin to Ballyconnell the size of Seán Quinn’s former business empire is amazing. He worked a miracle in the poor border region. For that, Seán deserves respect and he has it from the church, the GAA and the community.

The problem is that he now owes massive sums to the hard pressed Irish people. Apart from the fact that he borrowed €2.3 billion from Anglo Irish Bank to buy its shares, Fintan O’Toole in the ‘Irish Times’ pointed out that he also borrowed €455million to buy property – using that property as security. That property is now owned by the Irish taxpayer. Seán gambled and lost. O’Toole says Quinn is now “trying to hang on to money that belongs to us.”

Understandably people in Fermanagh and Cavan are grateful to the family but there’s little sympathy for them in Dublin. Sinn Féin’s local MLA Michelle Gildernew says she supports the Quinns, but her party says nobody should be paid more than 100,000 euro a year from the public purse.

Seán Quinn jnr’s wife, Karen was paid 400,000 euro last year by a Russian company entirely owned by the Irish people. She works as a part-time receptionist for Joe Duffy Motors in Dublin.

Feeling sorry for the family is one thing but paying their huge debts is a different matter entirely.