Belfast Telegraph

Boardroom tensions simmer as Quinn meets with QIHL investors

By Staff Reporters

American investors in the company that was once owned by Sean Quinn have held a private summit with him in Dublin amid boardroom tensions.

The US investors flew in for a Quinn Industrial Holdings Ltd (QIHL) board meeting last Thursday, but also held a private side-meeting with Mr Quinn in the city.

It is believed that the former tycoon - who now acts as a highly-paid consultant to QIHL - was asked to settle his business differences with the management team who now run the company. The meeting follows a frank email from the investors to the managers, laying bare the power struggle in the firm.

It has also emerged that the Bishop of Kilmore, Leo O'Reilly, met Mr Quinn at his office in Ballyconnell last month. A spokesperson for the bishop said the meeting was personal. Sources said there were growing concerns in the community over the bitter fallout of the tensions between Mr Quinn and his former management team.

A leaked email, published by Fermanagh newspaper The Impartial Reporter last week, revealed that Mr Quinn, who lost control of his empire to Anglo Irish Bank, is in a battle for control of the company. According to the email, Mr Quinn is unhappy with his role as an adviser to the business and wants to acquire ownership in QIHL.

However, the US investors said that they "had no appetite for Sean's role expanding beyond the advisory relationship already in place". They also urged Mr Quinn "to rectify his relationship with our senior management team". The team running QIHL includes chief executive Liam McCaffrey and operations director Kevin Lunney, who both previously worked for Mr Quinn before he lost control of his business empire in 2011.

A spokesman for QIHL said that "recently reported issues will not distract us from our drive to ensure that the company continues the strong growth which we have demonstrated in the first year".

QIHL, made up of the cement and packaging businesses of the former Quinn Group, has been recruiting new staff and now employs more than 700 people in Fermanagh and Cavan.

And businessmen Ernie Fisher, formerly of Fisher Engineering in Fermanagh, and John Bosco O'Hagan of Specialist Joinery Holdings in Maghera - and Fine Gael councillor John McCartin - are part of the consortium, Quinn Business Retention Company (QBRC), put together to buy back some of Mr Quinn's businesses with US financial backing. The three jointly sent an internal email appealing for the recent incidents of criminal damage to stop.

It follows a resurgence in attacks on businesses in Cavan and Fermanagh that used to be owned by Mr Quinn. Workers at a wind farm have received a number of death threats while cross-border police investigations are continuing into threats against Liam McCaffrey, the chief executive.

The email, which was signed by Mr Fisher, Mr O'Hagan and Cllr McCartin, implored "all parties to focus on rebuilding broken reputations, desist from criminal damage threats and defamation and look to a productive future".


Number of people who work for QIHL in Cavan and Fermanagh

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