Bankrupt former tycoon Sean Quinn, who was jailed for contempt in an asset stripping plot, has been granted temporary release for Christmas.
The one-time billionaire will be freed from the training unit in Mountjoy prison for three days over the festive break. He will miss his granddaughter's christening on Saturday.
His lawyer Kevin Winters, who represented the bankrupt pensioner as he was sentenced for contempt, confirmed that the decision to release Quinn was made on Thursday afternoon.
"Mr Quinn will be able to spend Christmas with his family at home, which is only right and fitting because it is no more or less than any other prisoner is entitled to at this time of year," he said. "It is a great sense of relief to his family that his application was approved."
Quinn, 66, was sentenced to nine weeks in jail for not purging his contempt in the High Court. The compassionate leave was agreed following prolonged talks between Attorney General Maire Whelan, the Department of Justice and the Irish Prison Service. Representations were also made on behalf of Quinn to the governor of Mountjoy, Edward Whelan.
Mr Winters, a Belfast-based human rights solicitor, represented Quinn at his sentence hearing last month when he first made an application for compassionate released. But Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said any request would have to be made to the prison authorities, which received three official applications from the inmate's legal team.
They had planned to take the issue back to the High Court because a prisoner convicted of contempt is not entitled to remission, unlike an inmate with a criminal conviction.
Quinn will be freed on Christmas Eve from the training unit, where his son Sean junior also served three months for contempt after a judge ruled they attempted to put a multimillion-euro asset portfolio beyond the reach of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).
The bank, rebranded from the bust Anglo Irish Bank, is pursuing the family for debts of 2.8 billion euros run up by Quinn senior in failed share deals.
In a statement, the Prison Service confirmed that compassionate temporary release has been granted for Quinn Senior, whose sentence will end on January 3. It said factors cited for consideration in the application included his age, previous good character, behaviour in custody, long-term health difficulties and the health problems of his wife Patricia.