Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Quinn family 'forced out' of firm by administrators

Startling allegations about the "de-Quinning" of the Fermanagh insurance and building empire have been made by tycoon Sean Quinn's family.

A statement claimed that, in recent weeks, four members of the family have been either sacked, made redundant or constructively dismissed.

Sean Quinn's troubles began in 2008 when he was fined €3.4m (£3m) by Ireland's financial regulator for using an inter-company loan to fund a 15% stake in Anglo Irish Bank.

That gamble lost him nearly €1bn.

Last year the Republic's Financial Regulator put the Quinn Insurance arm into administration because its liabilities outweighed its assets.

Anglo Irish took control of the rest of the businesses in the Quinn Group earlier this year, including cement and glass-making enterprises.

Mr Quinn - who was removed from the company in April after it was placed into administration the year before - and his family still owe €2.8bn (£2.4bn) to Anglo Irish.

The Quinn Insurance division is being sold to US insurance giant Liberty Mutual and nationalised Anglo Irish in a deal that could force Irish consumers to cover as much as 85% of losses.

The statement from the Quinns said that the family is "extremely concerned" that they are being targeted "in a most unjust and discriminatory manner" by court-appointed administrators Grant Thornton and the nationalised Anglo Irish Bank.

The email alleged that Ciara Quinn was sacked while on maternity leave, then subjected to two "wholly inappropriate" emails from the administrators.

Sources close to the Quinn family say that Ms Quinn, who had been pursuing a return to work, is instead preparing to sue both the insurance arm of the company and one of its administrators.

The statement also claims that Sean Quinn Jnr is the only person to be made "compulsorily redundant" from an initial workforce of 2,600 and is initiating High Court proceedings.

Brenda Quinn has already commenced proceedings against Quinn Insurance, claiming "victimisation in the workplace".

Meanwhile, it is alleged that Colette Quinn was asked to resign last week from various positions within the Quinn Group, while on maternity leave.

The administrators and Quinn Insurance were not available for comment.