Saturday 23 September 2017

No signs of welcome for regulator in heartland

Liam McCaffrey, group chief executive of the Quinn Group, makes his point to Emmet Oliver,
deputy business editor of the Irish Independent yesterday
Liam McCaffrey, group chief executive of the Quinn Group, makes his point to Emmet Oliver, deputy business editor of the Irish Independent yesterday

Emmet Oliver

WHLIE Quinn Group executives were softening their stance towards the Financial Regulator yesterday, the mood in "Quinn country" itself remained decidedly hardline.

While the signs dotted along the N3 didn't make it clear who the enemy was, the sentiment was clear. "Hands off the Quinn Group" read many erected outside shops and houses.

Thankfully the people of towns like Belturbet and Ballyconnell decided not to use actual images of Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield.

Nevertheless, the regulator should think of crossing Cavan off his potential list of holiday destinations for the next few months until the fate of Quinn Insurance and the Quinn Group is decided.

At the headquarters of the Quinn Group in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, the mood was less tense than in the surrounding areas.

There people were getting on with their jobs as usual, although nobody was able to say precisely where Sean Quinn himself was.

The door to his office on the second floor of the headquarters building was closed and there was no sign of his car in the carpark.

However, other executives were prepared to talk openly about the perilous situation in which the Quinn Group and Quinn Insurance find themselves.

The huge contribution of the both companies to the area is very evident. Every second lorry that passes along the road in and out of Cavan and surrounding towns seems to have the Quinn emblem on it.

Feeling

There are signs in support of the Quinn Group and its insurance arm as far away as Co Meath, but the closer to Derrylin, the feeling for Sean Quinn and the firms which bear his name seems to grow stronger.

Clearly, a lot of spin-off industries would suffer from the demise of either company and it was no surprise to see that local auctioneering firms are the most vociferous supporters of the Quinn empire.

In this area there is no talk of the disastrous Anglo share losses of the Quinn family, only strong support for the founder of the Quinn empire. The mood on the N3 is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Irish Independent

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