Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Quinns ask for talks to keep dad out of jail

The daughters of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn have asked the former Anglo Irish Bank to attend 11th hour mediation talks to settle their differences -- and avoid their father being sent to jail.

Mr Quinn's daughters and other family members whose assets have been frozen by court order have privately asked Anglo -- now renamed the IBRC -- to try to resolve many of the issues in the aggravated dispute in out-of-court talks.

Ciara Quinn, one of Mr Quinn's five daughters, had previously declared the family would win its "war" with the State-owned lender, which is pursuing her and her siblings for more than ?2bn in unpaid loans.

The Quinn family is challenging the legality of the loans in a case due to begin next year.

Mr Quinn and his wife Patricia, whose only son Sean Quinn Jnr is serving a three-month jail sentence for contempt, wept as supporters cheered Ciara Quinn's apparent declaration of war at a weekend rally in Cavan.

The Quinn daughters and other family members, including Sean Quinn Jnr's wife Karen Woods, Ciara Quinn's husband Niall McPartland and Aoife Quinn's husband Stephen Kelly, face tough sanctions if they do not comply with onerous court orders to disclose their financial affairs.

Members of the Quinn family subject to the wide-ranging freezing orders must disclose all of their assets, all bank accounts and any documentation relating to a scheme to put up to ?500m worth of Quinn family assets beyond the IBRC's reach.

The family is said to be devastated that the IBRC, who would not comment on the proposed talks, would not agree to mediation. But it is unclear how these disclosure orders could be mediated as they are issued by the courts.

Sean Quinn Snr is set to find out on Friday if he will face jail for breaking court orders not to interfere with the family's international property group (IPG).

The Supreme Court has reserved judgment on an appeal by Sean Quinn Jnr against his imprisonment for contempt of court and both sides may seek a postponement of Sean Quinn Snr's sentence pending the outcome of the appeal.

Sunday's rally in Ballyconnell has cemented public support in the border for the Quinn family, but it has attracted condemnation from senior political figures including Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan.

Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte, Donegal's assistant manager Rory Gallagher as well as business people from north and south were among the speakers at the event.

Mr Quinn's brother Peter Quinn called the media "bastards", in a speech listing the family's grievances against Anglo at the event.

Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield and IBRC chairman Alan Dukes also came in for criticism.

Mr Flanagan said the language used by Mr Quinn "belongs in the gutter".

"Mr Quinn is happy to be seen in public in Northern Ireland with his son (Peter Darragh) who is currently avoiding the sentence handed down to him by a court in the Republic," said Mr Flanagan.

"Our courts are a fundamental pillar of our democracy and the law must take its course. It is highly unsatisfactory that some people feel that these standards do not apply to them."

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