Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Quinn may be able to attend christening on temporary jail release

Temporary release: Sean Quinn
Temporary release: Sean Quinn

Bankrupt tycoon Sean Quinn may yet get to see his granddaughter's christening during his temporary release from an Irish prison for Christmas.

The 66-year-old Fermanagh native, who is serving nine weeks' prison for contempt of court, gets to spend three days and nights with his family after he was granted temporary compassionate release from Mountjoy prison.

He gets to spend Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day with his family.

Family letters to Mountjoy prison authorities and the State pleading for his release included an impassioned plea on behalf of his wife, Patricia.

She said she could not bear to be separated from her husband at Christmas after almost four decades together.

It was initially thought that Quinn would have missed the christening of his granddaughter Orna, which was due to take place in Belturbet, Co Cavan.

But there were no indications that the christening went ahead over the weekend in the church where many of the Quinn family weddings took place.

Sources close to the family suggested that it may have been postponed in order to allow Mr Quinn to attend. In the run-up to his temporary release, his daughter Ciara Quinn told Mountjoy governor Ned Whelan in a letter that the birth of her daughter in August was “the only good in my life over the past 19 months”.

Not having her father at the christening “will leave a large void in the ceremony and a dark cloud over the entire day”, she said.

Once Ireland’s richest businessman, Mr Quinn was jailed for contempt last month. A judge in Dublin’s High Court told him the court had no choice but to sentence him, amid allegations of a scheme that put the family's €500m (£407m) international property empire beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne told Quinn he had committed a contempt of court that had been nothing short of outrageous, and that he had been evasive, uncooperative and not credible during an earlier hearing.

Prisoners held for contempt can only be released by the courts but Mr Quinn's legal team provided legal submissions to the Attorney General, Marie Whelan, and Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

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