Quinn Insurance workers 'confident' after talks
Workers at the beleaguered Quinn Group said today that they were confident the multinational's UK insurance wing would reopen for business this Friday.
Following talks between the Financial Regulator and a cross-border, cross-party group of concerned politicians, employees said they had been assured the closure order was being reviewed.
The company, founded by Sean Quinn, once Ireland's richest businessman, is due before the High Court in Dublin next Monday to fight the watchdog's move to place Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL) in administration.
But employees said a subsequent ban on UK business was being reviewed amid growing pressure, street protests and high-level meetings over fears for 5,500 jobs in the group.
"As a direct result of our work, the administrator is currently reassessing the NI (Northern Ireland)/UK business plan which contains supporting information for the lifting of the NI/UK ban," employees said in a statement.
"The administrator will be sending this information to the regulator in the next 24 hours.
"Therefore, should the regulator act with the same urgency that he did last Tuesday on receipt and examination of the information, Quinn Insurance should be open for trading in the NI/UK by Friday morning."
Quinn employees, who marched on the Dail yesterday are planning another rally tonight in Cavan, organised by the local Chamber of Commerce.
The staff also warned they would follow that with a mass demonstration outside regulator Matthew Elderfield's office in Dublin on Friday, when he is expected to receive the administrators' report on the viability of its insurance services.
They said the blanket ban on UK business has had a crippling effect on the wider group.
"We urge all employees, friends, families, business associates, service providers and customers to attend and support this rally to present a united voice and maintain pressure on the regulator to act urgently," the employees said.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen intervened in the dispute over the Easter holidays and asked officials from the state's business development board Enterprise Ireland to meet with Mr Quinn.
Mr Cowen said he spoke to Mr Quinn on Thursday night at the businessman's request and stressed he was focused on finding a solution to the difficulties at the group.
Employees at the Quinn Group have warned that jobs across the wider business are under threat if the insurance division is not allowed to trade freely.