Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

MLA leaves chamber after Quinn Insurance outburst

MLA asked to leave chamber after Quinn outburst

Northern Ireland Assembly member Gerry McHugh was asked to leave the chamber after an outburst about the plight of Quinn Insurance workers.

The independent MLA for Fermanagh said 200 people losing their jobs in Enniskillen and Derrylin after the company went into administration were being let down by the Stormont government.

He was ruled out of order and proceedings were briefly suspended by Speaker William Hay after he attempted to make a point following Assembly questions with Martin McGuinness.

Afterwards Mr McHugh said: "I hope they got the message today; they are just fobbing people off. The Quinn workers were let down."

A total of 900 jobs are to go across Quinn Insurance's multinational operation, many through voluntary redundancies.

The company's owner Sean Quinn has said he and his family are "devastated" after he fought a campaign to allow the company to continue to trade.

In all, 179 jobs will go in Enniskillen and 21 in Derrylin, Fermanagh.

Last month the board of Quinn Group said Quinn Insurance should be sold and would be "best protected" under new ownership.

Mr McHugh said: "I am so annoyed about it because there are so many people pleading with me about the prospect of losing their jobs."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Employment Minister Sir Reg Empey have appointed Leslie Ross to coordinate the government's response and Invest NI will work with Enterprise Ireland to help secure funding from Europe to retrain the workforce.

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