Belfast Telegraph

Stop now ... united call after latest Quinn Group attack

Vandals attacking property belonging to the former Quinn Group have been told: "This has to stop."

It comes after the latest in a series of attacks which have caused damage to buildings owned by the group's now bankrupt former head Sean Quinn.

Yesterday it emerged a lorry had been rammed into a staff canteen at the manufacturing and insurance company's headquarters in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, on Wednesday evening, causing substantial damage.

A gaping hole was smashed into the front of the building, leaving it propped up by temporary supports.

The lorry was taken from behind the premises and driven into the property, before being abandoned and set alight a short distance away.

Luckily, employees had already gone home and no-one was injured.

There has been a series of attacks on Quinn Group properties since Mr Quinn - once believed to be the richest man in Ireland, worth an estimated €5bn - lost control of the company in April.

The serious vandalism has included vehicles being burned and power lines cut to businesses in the group, with chief executive Paul O'Brien putting the cost of the damage "in excess" of £1m.

But after this latest stunt, the feeling in the area is that people have had enough.

Politicians called for the attacks to stop and outraged staff said the damage was not helping their fight to save jobs.

Mr Quinn has previously condemned the attacks, saying those responsible were not acting in his name.

As police continued their investigations into the lorry attack yesterday, one worker said: "The people behind this do not represent those who work here, this does not help us save jobs."

Sinn Fein MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Phil Flanagan, condemned those behind the attack and called on them to stop.

"These people have no regard for the current employees of the Quinn Group and any attempt to portray this as an action on their behalf will simply not wash," he said.

"This type of activity, along with the previous attacks, has no support in the local community.

"The people in this area want to see the existing jobs within the Quinn Group retained and this on-going campaign of destruction will not help that in any way.

"Not only was a lorry destroyed, but a facility used by members of staff from all levels of the Quinn Group was targeted."

The DUP's Maurice Morrow also condemned the campaign of violence against the Quinn Group.

In a direct message to the perpetrators, he told them to stop their acts of vandalism.

"Whatever has happened to Sean Quinn and the Quinn Group, the only thing at the back of it all is that people view him as a major employer and just want everything to be given a chance, if that's possible, to secure jobs for the future," he said.

"And this campaign will certainly not do that."

Profile

Sean Quinn was once the most successful businessman in Ireland, employing up to 5,000 people across a vast construction and insurance empire.

He left school at 14 years of age unable to read or write, but by 2008 he was thought to be the richest man in Ireland, with an estimated personal fortune of almost €5bn.

Mr Quinn was stripped of control of his business in April, and since then there has been a series of attacks on the group's properties.

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