More than 900 Quinn Insurance jobs could be lost even though the Irish Financial Regulator has lifted its ban on the UK car insurance market.
The full scale of the losses, recommended by the troubled company’s administrators, will be revealed today and is likely to affecting one in three workers on both sides of the border.
At least 200 casualties expected at Quinn's Fermanagh operations in Enniskillen and Derrylin.
Administrators Grant Thornton were still finalising a business plan for Quinn Insurance late last night but employees are fearing the worst.
Added to this is the uncertainty over the future of the wider Quinn Group, with construction firm Laing O’Rourke believed to have made an offer for part of the company.
Staff at Quinn Call Centre in Enniskillen said they knew that redundancies were inevitable today, which has already been dubbed “Black Friday”.
“People here are desperately worried about their jobs,” said Maria McKenna, a Fermanagh employee.
“We’re all looking to the person beside us and wondering ‘is it going to be me, is it going to be you?’ because at this stage we just don’t know.”
Another worker, Joanne Graham, said losing her only source of income would have a “very big impact” on her. “I own my own house, I have a mortgage to pay,” she said.
Quinn representatives warned the Irish Parliament yesterday that more job losses were on the way unless the firm can be turned around soon.
The insurance company has been losing around 2,000 customers a day since the regulator imposed the restrictions on its UK operations, a Quinn workers group told the Dail’s Oireachtas Committee in Dublin yesterday. They added that 62,000 customers have been lost in the last month.
It is understood the redundancies will not take effect immediately, but over the course of several months.
While this will be a devastating blow to Fermanagh, it will also have implications for the wider border area.
Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman, Alma Kinnear, who owns a coffee shop in nearby Lisnaskea, said many businesses will suffer.
“Because Quinn group is a relatively young group it affects a younger section of people,” she said.
“I spoke to a florist in Lisnaskea who has a young couple who are getting married this weekend. They could be part of that bunch of people who could be laid off and they haven’t been able to enjoy the run-up to their wedding because of the strain and the stress of all this.”